Commitment to the church

Engaging Millennials: The Quest to Revive their Participation and Commitment at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church, Gastonia, NC

Author
Kimberly Moore
Abstract
There are times when a church can have the look of success, but the zeal of that ministry is slowly diminishing. The older generation continues to do their best to keep ministry viable and moving, but there is a younger generation who does not see the importance of committing to anything beyond the Sunday morning experience. Through a series of Bible studies, sermons, outreach and moments of fellowship, this project engages the millennial generation and discovers ways to move them toward some level of commitment and participation within the Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church, Gastonia, NC. It is becoming more and more evident that we are dealing with a different generation of believers. This millennial generation loves God, but they do not care for tradition or routine. They are more tasks driven than program driven. Therefore, we must provide opportunities for them to serve based upon present need versus long-term desire.

A church-wide emphasis, with preaching and teaching, provided the platform for instilling in members of Polkville Baptist Church a better understanding of the individual's role in the community of faith, the goal being that a greater percentage of...

Author
Richard Lee Hamrick
Abstract
A church-wide emphasis, with preaching and teaching, provided the platform for instilling in members of Polkville Baptist Church a better understanding of the individual's role in the community of faith, the goal being that a greater percentage of members take an active role in the church. The twelve-member research group was tracked individually, and the control group was tracked as a unit. Following the emphasis, care was taken to discover if there were more members involved in the life of the church than before the emphasis. There was a clear growth in understanding and in the number of active members.

Apostolic Women Religious in the United States and Their Legacy

Author
Janice J Brown O.P. D.Min.
Abstract
The legacy of Jesus has manifested itself among different populations, within different cultures, and during different times. This thesis-project looks at this manifestation as it unfolds as the legacy of apostolic women religious in the United States. The legacy of each participating congregation was described as a mission or more specifically as the mission of Jesus. It has also been the experience of these women religious that legacy is most tangible in the relationships and trust they built with their students, coworkers, and community members with whom they worked and partnered.
The legacy of apostolic women religious is a witness to the gospel message that took root as Christianity two thousand years ago. The thesis-project begins by exploring the legacy of Jesus, as well as the historical context that furthers God’s mission through the lives of three historical women – Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, and Angela Merici. The research then flows into the brief history of the Ursuline Sisters in the United States. Reviewing the pre and post-Vatican II eras and their influence on religious life helps lay a foundation upon which apostolic women today have been formed.
The primary data was gathered through focus group discussions involving seven congregations consisting of thirty-five apostolic women religious. Their comments are summarized first by congregation in order to maintain the richness within each discussion, then by main themes, and concluded with a reflection on the legacy of these women as it finds meaning through the Gospel of John.
Legacy has many definitions, but what surfaced most prominently was legacy as ministry, and the ministries are what define the women. Legacy efforts included developing relationships, education, healing, inclusivity, and service. All of these works could be imagined as the ongoing narrative of the Gospels, epitomized in the Beloved Disciple.

Does providing small group worship to the homebound and chronically ill congregant reconnect them to their faith community?

Author
Steven J Masters
Abstract
The author, working with two congregations, visited with chronically ill and home parishioners and their family members, providing personalized small group worship services. The author measured the effectiveness of the process by conducting spiritual assessments throughout the study to see if the congregant felt that the visits improved their connection to their congregation and as a result of these visits felt better about life in general. What the author concluded is that the persons being visited were extremely grateful, welcoming, and encouraging to the persons visiting them.

Equipping selected leaders of Crosshaven Baptist Church, Hanceville, Alabama, in Disciple-making leadership skills

Author
Jason T Murphree
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to equip selected leaders of Crosshaven Baptist Church, Hanceville, Alabama, in disciple-making leadership skills. The project director researched the field of disciple-making in order to determine effective disciple-making leadership skills. This research was used to develop a teaching curriculum. The curriculum was presented to selected leaders in a multi-session workshop format. Comprehension of the curriculum was measured by a pre-tested, post-test, role playing, case studies, and a commitment card. This project improved the project director's knowledge in the field of disciple-making skills and curriculum development and implementation. The project director received commitments from experts in the fields of disciple-making and curriculum to help in the development, evaluation, and implementation of the project.

Community Backyard Relationship-Building: A Partnership between the Church, Government, and Local Stakeholders

Author
James Larkin Pahl
Abstract
Transformation blossoms in the context of a deepening, sustainable relationship, where individuals engage one another on equal-footing. When relationships deepen, personal and community transformation occurs. By extension, the generative hope of a community and its children prosper.The people of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Oxford, North Carolina want to know their neighbors in the perpetually declining, poverty-ridden neighborhoods around the church. This poverty-trap imprisons parents, children, and families without hope of a different future. Our community and its citizens can be so much more than we are; and the faith community offers a unique commodity in this transformation. Jesus Christ calls us beyond our comforting walls to address socio-economic issues that plaque our communities. Through the love of God and deepening relationships, we authentically experience transformation through parity.The faith community cannot accomplish the mission alone. St. Augustine of Hippo directs the citizens of the City of God, temporarily residing in the earthly city (Babylon), to identify the "common good". Our Christian commodity is a "peculiar peace" and love of God, which draws us outward to our neighbor. This project is local, community relationship-building - a partnership between St. Stephen's, Social Services, and the Boys and Girls Club. The church, government, and local stakeholders identify the common good, as we jointly offer and engage practical resources for the parents of children enrolled in club activities. It is not another program; rather a space to grow and learn together with neighbors. The social principles of subsidiarity, sphere sovereignty, and generativity under-gird this faith-based partnership; and qualitative data in the form of surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews highlight the research methods. In the end, the experience of participants is transformative, with new neighborhood partnerships forming, and deepening, holy relationships changing hearts, one-by-one. "This is the place where we step onto the floor and dance with the wind, touching upon the mountain-tops, sailing up to the stars, reaching for heaven with a hopeful glare, and with all that we can be, and not just what we are!"

"THE BODY OF CHRIST: WHO WE ARE AND HOW WE SHOULD LIVE"; DEVELOPING A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH AT MOUNTAIN BROOK BAPTIST CHURCH, MOUNTAIN BROOK, ALABAMA

Author
Bruce W Splawn
Abstract
Mountain Brook Baptist Church is a loving, Christ-honoring congregation located in Mountain Brook, Alabama. However, as in many other congregations across the nation, the influence of consumerism and individualism that pervades American culture has negatively impacted the congregants' understanding of the nature of the church. The praxis director initiated this praxis to help members develop a biblical ecclesiology and to consider how such an ecclesiology ought to dictate how they participate in the life of the local church. Several topics on ecclesiology and the life of the local church are addressed in this praxis: Ephesians, ecclesiology, consumerism, and individualism.

From Apathy to Mission: A Critical Transition for Pastors and Leaders of Faithful, Yet Changing Congregations

Author
Dale R Stiles
Abstract
Throughout the researcher's 20 years of ordained ministry in the Lutheran Church he has continually been interested in the critical role effective biblical discipleship practices have on the 21st century church as well as the church of the future. It is evident in many communities of faith and among individual believers that there is a problematic lack of passion, urgency, and interest in faithfully carrying out one's call to discipleship. For this project five individual congregations and their pastors were studied and assessed as models that have bridged the gap from apathy to mission and from casual observer to faithful disciple. Data was gathered through general observation, open-ended questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, and surveys. Through grounded theory and a phenomenological approach to research, core concepts that can aid communities of faith in bridging the gap from apathy to mission were identified.

We promised: faithful ways the congregation can live out its baptismal covenant to families

Author
Allan L Purtill
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to study the ways a congregation can prepare families for infant baptism so that participation of these families in congregational life increases. The study will demonstrate the relationship between preparation for baptism and participation in congregational life. Research considers a theological history of baptism in the early church, and a case study of Hopewell Presbyterian Church's baptism records and data from a congregational survey on baptism beliefs and practices. The project proposes that congregations invest in forming relationships around children and their families prior to baptism in order to increase active participation.

Corporate hearing--a new dimension in team leadership

Author
Shui Kwan Wong
Abstract
This dissertation presents the Holy Spirit inspired insight of "corporate hearing" as a way for local churches to seek divine guidance. Its case study utilizes results of the City-wide Evangelism project in Hong Kong (1999-2003). "Corporate hearing" is then examined from Biblical, theological, and management perspectives. These confirm the need for unity of a small, committed number, forming a "critical mass" and enabling "team leadership". Through these concepts, the body of Christ is connected to the Head, Christ, accomplishing many great things.The dissertation also includes a practical pastoral guide with operational procedures, programs, and evaluation methods.
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