Conflict management

THE DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION OF AN EIGHT-WEEK, SMALL GROUP-BASED BIBLE STUDY COURSE FOR MARRIED COUPLES SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO STRENGTHEN THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP

Author
David Alan Shaffer D.Min.
Abstract
This project seeks to answer the research question, “Does an eight-week, small group-based Bible study course for married couples strengthen the marriage relationships of its participants?” Today’s most effective marriage programs focus on important themes relevant to marriage and include transparency, a biblical foundation, and gentle accountability. Still, the question follows, “What comes next to further strengthen marriages?” This project answers this question with a process-based Bible study that, because of its design, strengthens the marriage relationship with improved communication, conflict resolution, and increased overall marital satisfaction (the three measures of this project). This methodology includes weekly individual study, couple discussion, and small group interaction.
Through the use of pre- and post-course surveys, the couples who participated in a study of Galatians provided ample quantitative research that yielded group, couples, and gender statistics. The couples’ data was measured by Positive Couple Agreement (PCA), which identifies couples’ responses as a relational strength when they choose the same response or are within one choice of each other (4 [agree] or 5 [strongly agree] on a positively worded statement, 2 [disagree] or 1 [strongly disagree] on a negatively worded statement).
The researcher designed Galatians: True Freedom – A Small Group Study for Couples to implement the new methodology to be evaluated. The quantitative data based on the pre- and post-course surveys provided the means to prove whether the three measures strengthened the marriages of the participating couples. The data supports the veracity of all three hypotheses (improved communication, improved conflict resolution, and increased overall marital satisfaction), showing strong growth in each measure, most notably with communication. These results led to the research conclusion: Yes, the methodology used in this eight-week, small group-based Bible study course for married couples developed for this applied research project did strengthen the marriage relationships of its participants.

CONGREGATIONAL DIVERSITY AS A SPIRITUAL STRENGTH: RECOGNIZING OUR COMMON IDENTITY IN CHRIST IN THE BIBLICAL METANARRATIVE

Author
David Kosobucki D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to gauge the appreciation for diversity in the congregation of Horizon Christian Fellowship Central as a spiritual strength, based upon a common identity in Christ as expressed through the biblical metanarrative. The church in question is based near downtown Indianapolis. It is diverse from the standpoint of ethnicity or race as well as socioeconomically, meaning a full spectrum of class, income and educational levels are represented. It is also multigenerational, displaying an age range from high school students that come from the neighborhood without their parents to the elderly. Nonetheless, there are under 100 adults that attend on a typical Sunday, meaning this variety of people interacts on a constant basis.

The author delivered a fourteen-part series of teachings that went through the Bible from beginning to end. Seven messages came from the Old Testament and seven more from the New. These messages explored the themes of unity, diversity and our identity in Christ. The author concurrently led three rounds of focus groups consisting of three groups each, which met in homes to discuss the above themes as they appear throughout the Bible. Groups met before, during and after the teaching series.

In the focus groups, the church displayed an appreciation for the theme of diversity as it appears in the Bible. They seemed reluctant to speak in terms of the biblical metanarrative, though they saw the metanarrative as the foundation for their identity in Christ. They accepted this as their primary personal identity and something they shared with one another. Further, this congregation valued its own diversity, believing that it equipped them to relate and reach out to a greater variety of people. These views were reinforced rather than initiated by the teaching series, meaning people already held the views.

Reconciliation, unity, and peace through contextual Bible studies for a healthy multiethnic church in Africa

Author
Jean Claude Masuka Maleka
Abstract
This research project investigates social and spiritual concepts such as reconciliation, peace, and unity, which are crucial elements to create a healthy multiethnic church. Drawing from participants' interviews and Contextual Bible Studies methodology, the author designed a framework that can consolidate Christian identity and Christian unity through a process of dialogue, conversation, and participation, so that everyone might bring wisdom to the church’s contriteness and transformation. As a result, the author brought positive change in a local church of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire where members shifted from exclusion to acceptance of everyone in the church, regardless their identities and origins.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Lessons from Rwanda : moving through and beyond betrayal by clergy

Author
Kimberly A. Jackson
Abstract
Clergy and ministry leader betrayal negatively impacts people’s trust in the church and belief in God. To discern how we may move through and beyond such trauma, the author interviewed Rwandans who survived the 1994 genocide who knew of priests and nuns who betrayed churches in their care. The author then shared these findings with congregations in the United States who have been harmed by pastors or ministry leaders to determine if justice and mercy may enable their own journey towards forgiveness and reconciliation. The findings suggest repentance and atonement are key to forgiveness, whether reconciliation with perpetrators is possible.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Healing the people, healing the land : developing a vision for a High Street Monastery in St. Patrick's Church of Ireland, Coleraine

Author
Roger Cooke
Abstract
This paper seeks to address the issue of conflict transformation by offering a credible process for healing the wounded history of both a congregation, and the land it occupies, through the development of a well-defined process of reconciliation and the implementation of a Christian Day of Atonement. Having addressed the issue of ‘healing the people and healing the land’, the author goes on to tentatively outline a vision for the development of a High Street Monastery - a place of prayer, worship and radical community engagement - within the ancient Church of Ireland parish of St. Patrick’s, Coleraine.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Mystic sweet communion : holy conversation and the sanctification of the church

Author
Carol T. Cavin-Dillon
Abstract
The United Methodist Church is in crisis. For nearly fifty years its members have struggled to find consensus around the inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the life of the church. When congregations, Annual and General Conferences are tasked with voting, polarization deepens. However, when Christians gather for holy conversation, where there is genuine listening and open sharing, the result is often an awareness of deeper unity. This paper explores how holy conversation affected two different congregations. The author offers this model in the hope that it will help other congregations to remain committed to one another and to the Church.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Nehemiah leads the way : finding hope during congregational crisis

Author
Kristen Ann Burkhart
Abstract
Leading a congregation through a church crisis is an adaptive leadership challenge. What kinds of practical pastoral leadership steps does it take to help a church recover from a crisis and refocus mission and ministry? How is a wounded congregation led into hope-filled healing? Researching the congregation’s social context and history gives insight into the need for refocused mission and ministry. Preaching an eight-week sermon series on Nehemiah and processing it through narrative research and focused ministry action established the foundation for a wounded congregation to rebuild. Adapting change to the church committee structure provides renewal and creates space to received hope-filled healing as culture is shifted from internal to external, from “us” to “Christ.”

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Discovery and integration: A framework of spiritual formation for the leadership team of via faith community, Winston-Salem, NC

Author
Linda Marie Jones
Abstract
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord-who is the Spirit-makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (2 Corinth, 3:17-18, NLT )

The process of spiritual formation can be seen throughout all of scripture; men and women, growing in faith, learning to truly love God, themselves and God's people. There is something so special to be on this journey of faith with a loving, laughing, growing group of Christians as we learn to be mature, committed, faith-filled people of God. This project endeavored to take the leaders of Via Faith Community through a five week spiritual formation process, hoping to create a higher functioning, more spiritually mature leadership team. Utilizing prayer, Lectio Divina, sermons, Bible studies, and assessments of personality, spiritual gifts, leadership and conflict style in a weekly workshop session and worship service, the hearts and minds of the leadership team were awakened, as they discovered and integrated the biblical and theological principles of humanity, created in God's image and given unique personalities, abilities, experiences, and spiritual gifts through the work of the Holy Spirit, in order to effectively join God in the work of the Kingdom of God.

Spiritual abuse in church leadership: finding a way through

Author
Stacey Davis-Agee
Abstract
Literature addresses how spiritual abuse manifests itself in the church, the impact on those wounded by the abuse, and how to find healing. This study was designed to explore how associate pastors experience restoration from spiritual abuse by a lead pastor. The study utilized a qualitative research method, semi-structured interviews with six pastors, and the constant comparative method to analyze the data. The research examined associate pastors' experiences of contentious relationships created by their lead pastors and their journey towards resolution. The study concluded that healing and recovery are possible with the support of safe individuals and when they learn language to identify and acknowledge their experiences.

探討保羅在哥林多教會的衝突處理與權柄建立:
榮耀神的教牧實踐
An exploration from the Corinthian church on conflict resolution and authority building:
A God-glorifying pastoral practice.

Author
MANJUNG ABRAHAM TSAI D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis explores the relationship of pastoral authority and conflict resolution in a way that will glorify God, along with the process of building up such pastoral authority. Paul’s letters to the Corinthian Church contain specific events that provide realistic and historical material on which to base theological concepts regarding the resolution of conflict and the exercise of pastoral authority. Therefore, the researcher utilizes the perspective of equal and unequal powers in an organizational structure to analyze the conflicts in the Corinthian church. The investigation of these Scriptures is based on the presupposition that pastoral authority in conflict resolution needs to attain a certain level of competency and practice in three specific fields: adhering to pure biblical positions, pursuing mature spiritual character, and possessing excellent leadership skills.
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