Evangelical Churches

An Analysis of the Biblical and Social View of Evangelical Adult Christian Women’s Self-Worth

Author
Maggie Rodriguez D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
This research project sought to analyze the biblical and social view of evangelical adult Christian women’s worth. A descriptive survey was designed to reveal reasons why evangelical adult Christian women struggle with their sense of self-worth. Hispanic, African American, Asian, and Anglo women provided valuable information regarding each group’s self-worth with respect to their family of origin, cultural background, community variables, and traumatic experiences.

The survey was designed by the researcher and generated a 78% response rate from 604 women. The results of the survey revealed that evangelical adult Christian women struggle with their self-worth and value. The study proved all four of its hypotheses to be true—that an evangelical adult Christian woman’s self-worth can be negatively influenced by her family of origin, culture, community, and past traumatic experiences.

In contrast, research, biblical examples, and survey responses support the truth that God created women in His image and that they reflect the “Imago Dei.”

HOW EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IN THE CHICAGO METRO AREA ARE ENGAGING MUSLIM COMMUNITIES

Author
Michael Urton D.Min.
Abstract
This project examined how local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area are engaging local Muslim communities. It asked a main research question along with two additional questions to frame the study. The main research question was how are specific local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area engaging local Muslim communities? The two additional questions were used to answer the main research question in a more precise manner. The first one was what are some of the challenges that these local churches encountered when engaging Muslims? The second was what lessons can be learned from the experiences of these congregations when mobilizing churches to engage Muslims?

This study began by stating the problem of attitudes towards Muslims in the West with special focus on evangelical Christians in the United States. It then discussed the important role that evangelical churches in the United States have in engaging the Muslim community.

A theological/biblical basis along with a philosophical foundation from a review of precedent literature supported this project. This foundation can assist evangelical Christians in knowing the lengths they can go in their engagement with Muslims, as well as realizing the distinctives that they must maintain.

Data collections were conducted for this study to explore the research questions. These included twenty-one semi-structured qualitative interviews with people at seven different churches, participant observations of events that these churches did with Muslims, and a collection of documentary evidence. The data from this study was organized into findings and suggestions were made for how they can be implemented by churches in their interactions with Muslim communities.

Equipping Selected Attenders of Sojourn Community Church, Beaumont, Texas, with personal Evangelism Skills

Author
Daniel Carpenter
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to equip selected attenders of Sojourn Community Church, Beaumont, Texas, with personal evangelism skills. The project began with the project director researching the field of evangelism in order to determine skills that are essential for personal evangelism. Upon completion of his evangelism research, the project director researched the field of curriculum writing in order to develop a curriculum designed to equip participants with personal evangelism skills. Finally, the project director conducted six training sessions in order to equip selected attenders of Sojourn Community Church, Beaumont, Texas, with personal evangelism skills. The lessons learned throughout the entire project are contained within this project

Recovering From and Rejoicing in Fundamentalism: Insights From Former Fundamentalists and the Pastors Who Shepherd Them

Author
Eric Alan Vander Ploeg D.Min.
Abstract
Christian fundamentalism played a key role in protecting the gospel from liberal decay in
American history. Its leaders built a high wall of separation around the fundamentals of the faith
to protect them from the innovations of modernism. The wall kept cultural threats out, but it also
kept a particular era of Christian culture in. While America later experienced the most rapid
cultural upheavals in its history, fundamentalism remained largely unchanged within its walls,
and the cultural chasm grew wider and wider. Some of the children of fundamentalism have now
left these walls and are in search of something new.

This project seeks to help these “travelers” on their journey. Twenty focus groups with
self-identified “recovering fundamentalists” identified several patterns of personal pain along
with lessons learned that could benefit others. Nine interviews with experienced pastors yielded
best practices in shepherding travelers as they enter evangelical churches. These results were
collated to produce four key findings:

1. Living with the disapproval and disappointment of fundamentalist parents after
transitioning.
2. Learning how to trust authority (of leaders and of the Bible) after being told to “just
trust” and not ask questions.
3. Moving from a model of sanctification that is guilt-based to one that is grace-based.
4. Learning how to rejoice in the fundamentalism of one’s youth and to see God’s
kindness and glory amidst the errors of its proponents.

A Qualitative Analysis of Church Leadership Conflicts in Evangelical Churches in Northern Nigeria With a View to Building a Better Transformational Leadership Model

Author
Timothy Danladi Nwan D.Min.
Abstract
The project addresses leadership conflicts among church leaders in evangelical churches in Nigeria with the view toward building a better transformational leadership model. To address these conflicts the project centered upon transformational leadership phenomena, showing that a leadership development training program model for the future leaders must be seen as a priority in all the evangelical churches in Northern Nigeria. Such a model would be based on the researcher’s qualitative research study, which used thirty-six participants from evangelical church denominations as a case study. The study included both interviews and fieldwork-based research, in which the case studies of church leaders were analyzed to understand their perspectives on their leaders, as well as their impact on the community of faith and the culture from a biblical perspective. The project intends to motivate church leaders to learn to respond effectively to conflict resolution in their ministries. The researcher will use this model approach to better equip and organize seminars and workshops for church leaders and other emerging leaders through the researcher’s non-profit organization, the Leadership Training Center (LTC), in Northern Nigeria

Overcoming Obstacles to Churches Planting Churches

Author
Brent Frederick Burckart D.Min.
Abstract
The thesis of this dissertation is that existing churches can successfully overcome common obstacles to planting new churches when church leaders learn to adopt three vital practices: communicating a compelling vision for church planting to their congregations, cultivating a spirit of bold faith within their congregations, and implementing a sustainable church planting strategy for their congregations.

The literature review will survey some of the key literature and research on church planting generally and on the mother-daughter model of church planting specifically. Using the case study method, three churches that have successfully overcome obstacles to develop an ongoing rhythm of planting daughter churches will be analyzed through interviews and surveys. From the findings of these cases, applications will be drawn to assist other churches seeking to regularly plant daughter churches.

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).

The Mid-Faith Crisis: Introducing Evangelicals to the Dark Night of the Soul

Author
Thomas Sweeney M.A.
Abstract
The mid-faith crisis is a qualitative shift in our faith experience as God weans us of the spiritual delights lavished upon us in the initial stages of faith and leads us on an inner journey of awareness, repentance, and surrender. This typically occurs in middle age and often in the midst of successful ministry, so it is often misdiagnosed as falling away from faith rather than progressing in faith. Such strong medicine is necessary because it addresses a serious affliction: the false self which has smuggled itself unseen into the Christian life and forms the great obstacle between us and God as well as us and those around us. Through the mid-faith crisis, God invites us to lay aside the false self and its tools for navigating life, accept who we really are, and to grow ever more into our identity as the beloved of the Father. While the mid-faith crisis is divinely initiated and sustained, there is room for human participation in the work.
This research portfolio explores the author’s own mid-faith crisis, proposes a model for the phenomenon and reports the results of an action research project to develop and deliver a curriculum that introduces conservative Evangelicals to the mid-faith crisis. It concludes by identifying further potential development of the model and the curriculum.

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.

BREAKING FREE FROM PERSONALITY-DRIVEN MINISTRY

Author
Steve Tomlinson D.Min.
Abstract
This major project, Breaking Free from Personality-Driven Ministry, investigates the tendency of pastors of evangelical churches to develop a cult of personality around their ministry. The project considers the biblical mandate to pursue humility, exegeting both narrative and didactic passages from the New and Old Testament, and then considers secular and Christian literature on the topic of humility and leadership. The field research includes qualitative and quantitative data seeking the perspectives of both clergy and lay leaders on what effective, humble leadership should look like and evaluates the responses in light of the biblical material and literature studied. The conclusion of the project is that humble, non-personality-driven church ministry is not only possible but should be pursued in a context of team leadership, accountability, and personal disciplines. Central to the project's findings is the need for a leader to nurture and pursue a gospel-focused vision.
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