Discipleship

A THIRTY-ONE DAY SPIRITUAL GROWTH EXERCISE AT SYRACUSE ALLIANCE CHURCH TO HELP CHRISTIANS KNOW AND EXPRESS THE LOVE OF GOD

Author
Brian Rathbun D.Min.
Abstract
The “Love One Another Spiritual Growth Exercise” was developed because it was essential at Syracuse Alliance Church in Syracuse, New York to develop the Great Commandment environment in order for the church to more effectively fulfill the Great Commission.

The Love One Another Spiritual Growth Exercise was developed to focus the people of the church for thirty-one consecutive days on loving God with all their being and expressing their love for God by loving others as themselves. A series of five messages from 1 John was preached over five consecutive Sunday mornings. Thirty-one “Love One Another” devotionals were developed and then distributed daily. People were challenged to memorize one key Love One Another scripture verse per week for five weeks. They were asked to make one brief journal entry per week for five weeks to reflect on what God was teaching them about loving Him and others.

At the end of the exercise three Focus Groups, a women’s group, a men’s group, and an elders group, were convened to gather feedback on the impact of the project. The feedback from these groups indicated that the exercise engaged a large percentage of people in the church and helped them take a step to enhance the Great Commandment environment. The Focus Groups provided valuable information for how to improve the various aspects of the exercise and proved invaluable for the development and implementation of any spiritual growth exercise at any church.

Cruciformational Discipleship: A Leader Training Program for Producing a Fruitful Missional Ministry for the University City Chinese Christian Church

Author
Tony Liang D.Min.
Abstract
The mission of the church was expressed as to build a fruitful cruciformational community of Christ that glorifies God. To do that in the postmodern and post Christendom age, a missional church would need the full utilization of the ministry of the Word. in all its forms for all levels, from personal to congregational. It required developing ministry expressions that properly adapt to the very complex and rapidly changed ministry context, and at the same time that ensured these expressions to be firmly rooted in the Biblical foundation and centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The theological vision that was derived from the theological framework for the given ministry context was key to fulfill that purpose effectively. This project was a discipleship training pilot program for all ministry leaders.

The program first presented to the trainees the big picture of how the ministry of the Word transformed the lives of believers as holy priests through the worshiping lives of the church to produce fruitful results. It then taught the trainees the process of utilizing it: to build the theological framework that was the foundation of ministry, to develop the ministry platforms that enabled effective ministry utilization, and to derive the theological vision that connected the Biblical foundation to the ministry expression for
given ministry contexts.

The results from the evaluation of the program showed that the project had reached the initial goals in understanding the basic concepts and their theological foundation. However, the program had too much content. Therefore, the trainees could not explore the three catalysts fully and had not reached one of the goals associated with them (to have the basic skill to apply those catalysts in ministry).

MATURING CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP THROUGH TIMES OF SUFFERING: A STUDY IN AN AMERICAN MIDWEST CONGREGATION - NEW HOPE CHURCH; ADEL, IOWA

Author
Thomas Hein D.Min.
Abstract
The project identifies some of the ways Christians grow in maturity during times of suffering. During these times some Christians grow in maturity, while others experience a setback in their spiritual growth. This is a pastoral study, meaning that it is primarily concerned with observation and analysis of the discipleship process in the lives of Christian believers. The project evaluates true and false beliefs about God and spiritual life that occur during the process of suffering in the lives of New Hope Evangelical Free Church (Adel, Iowa) adult believers. Fifty-seven church members answered questions in a quantitative survey inquiring about their spiritual life before and after their time of suffering. Interviews were conducted with fifteen of the survey participants for more in depth evaluation of their spiritual disciplines, attitudes, and beliefs.

The study evaluated some false beliefs about God and spiritual life that Christians may develop during times of suffering. In addition, the study evaluated what true beliefs about God and spiritual life sustained believers during times of trial. Finally, the study evaluated what spiritual disciplines helped people move toward greater spiritual maturity during a season of suffering.

The practical application outcome of the study is a small group workbook entitled, A Journey through Suffering: Processing the Painful Experiences of Life. This resource is designed to be an exegetical devotional guide to help people reflect on their suffering in the context of a biblical metanarrative. Prayerful reflection will potentially lead toward maturing discipleship that glorifies God.

GUIDELINES FOR MOBILIZING CHINESE BI-VOCATIONAL KINGDOM WORKERS FOR THE NEWLY OPENING BELT ROAD COUNTRIES

Author
R. Strickler D.Min.
Abstract
The project set out to discover guidelines for how to best prepare Chinese bi-vocational Kingdom Workers to work and live missionally wherever God leads them. Of particular interest to the emerging missions candidates from China are Muslim peoples spread throughout the countries aligned with the emerging Belt Road Initiative.

A review of international marketplace ministry and business as mission practices was undertaken. The project research focuses on a sample of existing Chinese-led Business as Mission enterprises. Interviews were conducted with ten different Chinese executives or owners, located in seven different countries, including China proper.

Information on why companies chose to locate in an area and how the leaders were prepared, was elicited. Some correlation was made as to how the Chinese BAM companies conduct their businesses compared to the international BAM movement.

There was convergence between the two streams, and at the same time several distinct issues and opportunities emerged for the preparation of future Chinese workers. Among these are: solid teaching on the theology of work for both candidates and senders; the need for life-on- life discipleship training prior to going out; for those inexperienced in BAM or marketplace ministry, the recommendation for apprenticeship with an existing company prior to being deployed; and, the opportunity for Chinese BAM companies to capitalize on emerging green technologies.

The findings from these interviews provides material that will be used by the writer, his agency, and partners, in the preparation of bi-vocational Kingdom Workers. This will help new appointees they are coaching to live and work most effectively as they answer the call to go to unreached peoples in the newly opened Belt Road countries.

Disciple-making: Key Ingredients for Building God’s Kingdom

Author
Sidney Wes Emory Sr D.Min.
Abstract
The first century Church was founded in response to the disciple-making processes of Jesus. His disciples were transformed by following Jesus in a way that obedience, transformation, community, education, worship, and the expansion of God’s kingdom became the central themes of their lives.
This study addressed the need to understand the disciple-making process found in Scripture in a way that will yield the results that are found in the Book of Acts primarily those found in Acts 2:42-47.
Christian churches of every denomination, tradition, model, and size have been called to make disciples. The Scripture, literature, interviews, and surveys researched in this project were designed to discover transferrable suggestions that could focus all believers on the results of following the plans of God to build his kingdom using the process of disciple-making.
The results of the project revealed that the key to building the kingdom of God is found in the practices and plans of the ultimate disciple-maker, Jesus. It recommends having the correct mindset in of making disciples a part of everyday life, creating a deeper understanding of the worship of God, living relationally connected to other people in a process of becoming more like Christ, and focusing on God first in everyday life

Developing a biblical discipleship course that transforms seminary students to fulfill the Great Commission

Author
Mark M Cancel D.Min.
Abstract
The focus of this study is the development and evaluation of a Biblical Discipleship Course at a seminary designed equip students to make disciples in obedience to the Great Commission. In developing the Biblical Discipleship Course, the theological framework and doctrinal implications of the Great Commission Matthew 28:18–20 were identified and discussed. This course was designed to be objective based, transformative and motivational driven with several schools of thought on this subject were used in its development. The assertions of two hypotheses of this study were satisfied and upheld, by collected research and analysis. A Seminary Level Biblical Discipleship Course can transform students into makers of disciples in fulfillment of the Great Commission. Change in spiritual attitudes and commitment affects making disciples.

Towards a Reformed Evangelical Program of Spiritual Formation at Ryle Seminary, Ottawa

Author
Shaun Minett Turner D.Min.
Abstract
In this research portfolio the author seeks to articulate a form of reformed-evangelical spiritual formation and apply it to ministry formation training in both military and civilian ministry training contexts. The author sees spiritual formation as stripping off the old self and putting on the new self by looking to Jesus. Research is presented which shows that this formation often leads to greater resilience in ministry and life, as well as an increased awareness of, and dependence on, God’s sovereign grace, leading to a deeper sense of discerning God’s voice every day. The author used three parts: a personal spiritual autobiography, a model of spiritual formation in the reformed-evangelical tradition, and a field research project using appreciative inquiry to develop an integrated spiritual formation program at a reformed-evangelical seminary in Ottawa, Canada. The author was successful in using an appreciative approach to engage the students of the Seminary to design a program that was accepted by an expert panel of school administration, denominational leadership, and student leadership. This research portfolio provides both a practical model of spiritual formation in the reformed-evangelical tradition and a means of tailoring this model, through appreciative inquiry, to specific contexts.

HOW CAMPUS MINISTRY INFLUENCES AND FACILITATES SPIRITUAL GROWTH IN THE LIVES OF PRINCETON UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Author
Jonathan Nielson D.Min.
Abstract
For this major project, the study participants were Princeton University undergraduate
students who were actively involved in the ministry of Princeton Faith and Action, which is
staffed and resourced by Christian Union. Students were observed, studied, and interviewed at
the beginning (fall) and conclusion (spring) of their freshmen years at Princeton, with the goal of
determining to what extent this campus ministry was contributing to their spiritual growth. The
research and study focused on five main metrics to measure the growth in spiritual maturity of
these students: Bible and theology knowledge, spiritual disciplines, personal holiness and
godliness, evangelism and gospel witness, and understanding of and involvement in local
churches. Conclusions were drawn about the strengths and weaknesses of this campus ministry
at Princeton University and its effectiveness in helping undergraduate students grow in spiritual
maturity.

DISCIPLESHIP OF MUSLIM BACKGROUND BELIEVERS IN THE CONTEXT OF PERSECUTION: A STUDY IN NORTH AFRICA

Author
Phillip Smith D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry project was designed to explore the practical implications that can help disciplers of Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) in their mission to care for and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, develop the life and conduct of the new disciples from that background. It begins with the theological foundation of discipleship within the context of persecution and moves on to an examination of the existing literature on the topic.

This researcher conducted qualitative interviews with eighteen MBBs in a city in North Africa and another twelve experienced disciplers who worked in that field. The purpose of this project is to investigate the themes found in the journeys of discipleship and to discover the specific factors that influence MBB disciples to mature in Christ.

Based on a robust understanding and the findings of this research, a proposal for "Adaptive Discipleship Principles in the Context of Persecution" is put forth for workers to enhance the process of training and discipling MBBs, who might suffer for their faith, to know Him and to make Him known.

The research concludes that fear is a key challenging barrier. Those who crossed that barrier have identified themselves with the early church disciples (Acts 4:31). Another important factor that needs the attention of the disciplers is that this kind of work will take patience, perseverance, and much time. This work will be done on a low profile and it will continue to be unnoticeable.

IDENTIFICATION OF FACTORS RELEVANT FOR THE CREATION OF A DISCIPLESHIP CERTIFICATE PROGRAM IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Author
Timothy Dahlin D.Min.
Abstract
This project had as its purpose to identify issues that evangelical leaders in Latin America raise regarding discipleship and ministerial formation in their contexts and, second, to identify effective ways in which these issues might be addressed through a program created by ProMETA, a training institution with which the researcher works. The researcher had taught an online course focusing on biblical models of discipleship. The students, who represented five Latin American countries, expressed dissatisfaction with the current practice of discipleship in evangelical churches in the region. This motivated the researcher to carry out this project. Following a review of relevant literature which highlighted contextual, theological and educational concerns, the researcher conducted a qualitative inductive investigation. He interviewed eleven leaders representing Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Argentina in a sequence of three interviews. Those interviewed included pastors, individuals dedicated to youth and discipleship ministries, a seminary professor, and a representative of a ministry devoted to training leaders in the Majority World. They expressed serious concerns about the current practice of discipleship as being limited in scope, overly cognitive in its nature, and giving insufficient attention to the assimilation of the life and teaching of Jesus. Participants also noted that current church practice was not responding adequately to rapid changes in the region. The group affirmed the value of a program at a level other than masters to address these needs. They recommended a curriculum focused on providing an adequate vision of discipleship, character development, and tools to implement discipleship in the local setting. The group interviewed provided many suggestions for the promotion and implementation of such a program. They also affirmed the importance of local leadership and the involvement of the local church for the success of such a program.
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