Community--Religious aspects

That They May Have Life: The Congregation's Opportunity to Strengthen Resiliency and Foster Wholeness Amid Trauma in the Lives of Volunteer First Responders

Author
Jason Cashing D.Min.
Abstract
With every emergency, first responders are exposed to a degree of traumatic stress. This Secondary Traumatic Stress can sap the life and purpose from first responders, and the accumulation of unaddressed STS can lead to burnout, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and even suicide. The congregation, though practices of Sabbath and Lament, can offer pathways to help mitigate STS and strengthen resilience. Looking at the invitation to Abundant Life in John 10, the Church’s calling and the world’s need intersect, providing a framework and a language to help first responders and congregations alike realize the fullness of Life offered to all.

Preaching the aloha spirit roundtable: notion of cultural compatibility in homiletics

Author
Gwendolyn Kehaunani Hill
Abstract
This qualitative research study reflects the challenges a preacher confronts when called to celebrate a newly formed pan-Pacific community of diversity at the roundtable by illumining the biblical faith of the "aloha spirit" - extravagant hospitality and inclusivity. Linking the notion of cultural compatibility from educational theory to homiletical theory, the thesis proposes three significant strategies that help a pastor preach in ways that ensure the sermon is attuned to the local culture of the community of diversity that gathers at the roundtable: a) preacher elevates core images of the "aloha spirit" b)preacher develops "talk-story" conversations of the local culture and c) preacher hails the "sense of place" at the roundtable.

Detectives of divinity: experiences of God in the life of a church

Author
William E Warren
Abstract
Utilizing focus group research, this project explores experiences of God's presence with adults of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Germantown and what the implications of these experiences are for the church. This project makes use of writings on the nature of sacred space and is informed by a theology of the Eucharist. It concludes that the church finds its calling in being a community of unconditional love where people are invited to be "detectives of divinity" in the everyday realities of life and in their struggles to follow in the way of Jesus.

Internet of the heart: a pietistic enclave?

Author
William E Olewiler
Abstract
The author observed with fascination and curiosity as an Internet group evolved from discussion of a specific author's books and philosophy into a mutual support and care group with strong resemblances to a local church, or to a small group within a church. The Internet fellowship shared prayer, Bible reading, homilies, confession, intercession, and personal triumphs and defeats. The group split into two about halfway through its ten-year existence, but the successor groups care about one another and share the on-line culture described above. Is this a church in cyberspace? The author tests the shape and interactions of the Internet group against several definitions of church and concludes that while they are not an Internet church, the groups serve their members as do pietistic groups, such as Wesleyan societies, within the larger church. The needs met by these Internet groups suggest ministries, online or in real space, that local churches may want to explore.

Sharing story -- recovering community: a process for discovering identity and purpose for small congregation churches

Author
Joe E Bowers
Abstract
This project offers ways for small congregation churches to discover identity, recover community, and develop intentionality through story. The author presents historical and Wesleyan theological foundations that offer validity for the import and perseverance of such churches. Instruments based on the interaction of biblical narrative, church history, and personal spirituality were designed to advance the spiritual growth of a core study group. The congregation explored methods of reframing their story through historical reflection of past narrative events, faith visioning for the future and community building through creativity and play. The implication of this project are that a rural small membership church with God's help, faithful utilization of their spiritual resources, and diligence, can recover their community and purpose of mission.

Creating a culture of covenant

Author
Pam J Brady
Abstract
This thesis will demonstrate that the call of the redemptive leader is to create a culture of covenant for the purpose of transformation. The intent of this project is to develop a framework that creates a community, whereby the heart and subsequent actions of the leader create a culture in which covenant is likely to develop. The author's hypothesis is that key leader behaviors model a culture of covenant. These behaviors were defined and prepared as a survey pre-test amongst Coastlands Executive Team members. Key strategic interventions based on leader weaknesses were practiced, followed by a post-test.

Whose sermon is it, anyway? preaching the testimony of the people

Author
Judith Visser
Abstract
This thesis illustrates how a congregation became more fully a community of theological reflection and experienced more deeply its communal identity when people became conversation partners with each other and the preacher. People were invited into a circle of conversation comprised of four "moments": individual and Bible text; a group conversation; people's testimonies lifted up in the preaching moment; and talk-back conversation after the sermon. The project was reflected on in light of conversational homiletical theory as described by John McClure, Lucy Rose, Scott Alexander, and Wesley Allen, as well as shared findings from conversation partners in the project.

For you! for me? for us: preaching to postmodern listeners

Author
Cynthia J Krommes
Abstract
This project presents the broad outlines of an incarnational homiletic for those who preach to postmodern listeners who are suspicious of authority, learn through experience and long for life in community. Drawing upon the thought of postmodern philosophers Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Richard Rorty; the analysis of contemporary social scientists Robert Bellah, Joseph Pine II, James Gilmore and Robert Putnam; and the homiletics of David Lose, Martin Luther and Lucy Atkinson Rose, a proposal is made for incarnational preaching where the Word expressed "for you" is experienced as "for me" so that it may be lived "for us."

Nurturing a shared vision: transitioning the associate pastoral staff of a large Pentecostal church from a transformational leadership paradigm toward a transformational/formational model

Author
M Jeremy McGinnis
Abstract
This project seeks to demonstrate the effects of healthy covenant community among associate pastoral staff persons on team competency. Indicators of healthy team competency according to The Team Survey [copyright symbol] are utilized. Aspects of formational leadership in regards to corporate vision discerning processes are incorporated to enact transition toward a transformational/formational leadership paradigm. The implementation of three meetings: one leadership seminar and two formational theologizing sessions are utilized for the impetus of the transition. The author seeks to illustrate a faithfully Pentecostal leadership methodology amidst the plethora of transformational models within the church community. Park West Church of God's current transformational leadership paradigm is theologically and critically reflected upon in attempt to transition toward a transformational/formational model of leadership.

"May I have a word?" Preaching from points of new location

Author
Paul Peters Derry
Abstract
The author addressed the challenge within the United Church of Canada, where shifting understandings of preaching involve not assuming the church's dominant position in society, and his experience of moving from long-term preaching relationships, interim ministry, and itinerant preaching into healthcare chaplaincy. No longer preaching week-by-week in a congregation, he discovered opportunities not only within, but beyond a community gathering for worship. Incorporating insights of Walter Brueggemann's Cadences of Home: Preaching Among Exiles and Edwin Searcy's theory of "de-centered preaching," his thesis is that preaching from points of new location offers opportunities that are surprising, refreshing, and not present otherwise.
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