Family life

Developing a theology of family for the Chinese immigrant families in North America

Onn Liang
The Chinese in North America is primarily an immigrant population. Like other immigrants, Chinese families in North America experience more family problems than usual because of the complications brought about by migration. To develop a theology of family for the Chinese immigrant families in North America, three functions and three characteristics of family structure that are relevant to the context of their situation are incorporated. The family functions are procreation, stabilizing community, and individuation; the characteristics are adaptability to change, commitment to interdependence, and tolerance of diversity. These functions and characteristics are interrelated.

This project concluded with the suggestion of a two-pronged approach in family ministry. First, the church is to intentionally apply a family perspective in everything that it does, be it worship, Christian education, Christian care, or mission. Second, the church provides family ministry programs that meet the needs in the faith community and the larger community.

Self-regulation as a function of pastoral leadership

William E. E Buckeye
Can a pastor increase his or her own self-regulation and self-differentiation as a pastoral leader by integrating an understanding of one's own family system, the historical functioning of the congregation being served, and the pastor's most meaningful passage or story from the Bible? Will these three often disparate pieces weave together into new understandings that can improve the pastor's own functioning? This project is designed to begin to answer these questions.

Chapter One presents the history of the development of Murray Bowen's Family Systems Theory and the eight main concepts of this theory.

Chapter Two will be an in-depth examination of my family of origin which will discuss the patterns of family functioning I discovered as I completed my family genogram, similar to a family tree.

Chapter Three will briefly examine the history of one of the congregations I served in an attempt to discover the roots of that particular congregation's functioning.

Chapter Four will be an in-depth examination of the biblical account of the patriarch Jacob/Israel.

Chapter Five will integrate these three elements, my family story, the congregational story, and the biblical story, to demonstrate how the common elements that existed in all three of these stories led to a "Eureka" moment for my life and ministry.

Chapter Six, the concluding chapter will describe how other pastors, if they are already familiar with Bowen Theory and family emotional processes, may begin to apply the approach described in this paper within their own lives and ministries to increase their ability to regulate anxiety and self-differentiate within the life of the congregation.

Healthy Parenting in the Family System

Brian Malvig D.Min.
In the New Testament, there are several passages that illustrate the way in which Christians are to interact with each other. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, Romans 12:3-5, and Ephesians 4:4-5 the apostle Paul describes the connection Christians have with one another as being like a body. Through Jesus Christ, Christians are all connected in this body, the body of Christ. Between 1950 and 1960, Murray Bowen began to develop an integrative theory of the family which he called “family systems theory” (FST). FST describes the family as one emotional unit rather than a collection of autonomous people. The theory describes humans as living in relationships with emotional connections. These connections pass the anxiety of family members to each member of the family system along interconnected pathways. This idea was a departure from the linear causation theories espoused at the time Bowen proposed his theory. Bowen described anxiety—defined in this project as a reaction to a threat that is real or imagined—as existing in two foundational forms, chronic and acute. Chronic anxiety can be passed through family generations and often shows up in recurring generational patterns and similarities. Although family systems theory was developed based on the assumption that humans are a product of evolution, this project has shown the connection between FST and biblical doctrines and theology. This project has shown that FST can be a valuable tool for Pastors and parents as they observe their congregation or family’s emotional reactivity. It also shows that through a better understanding of the doctrine of sanctification and the body of Christ, they will improve their own family’s emotional connections and bring about a healthier family system.

Equipping the Korean-American Families for Family Worship at Orange Canaan Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana, CA

In the 120 years of Korean immigration to the United States, there has been a history of much hardship and loneliness associated with settling down in a strange land and living life as an immigrant. For many immigrants adjusting to life in the United States, in which their children have had to adjust to life in a whole new culture, it is often the case that they have not been able to pay much attention to their children's lives. Now, these parents face the problem of communicating to and discipling children that have grown up in a completely different language and culture—having been assimilated to the culture and having been educated in the United States growing up with a completely different set of values from their parents' generation. As such, problems and conflicts within Korean immigrant families in the United States continue to grow. For Christians, the problems they face often find their children leaving their homes and leaving their churches. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the Korean church in the United States.

Establishing a Biblical Marriage Mentorship Program at First Baptist Church in Midlothian, TX

Kevin Joseph Phillips D.Ed.Min.
The purpose of this project is to answer the question, “Would first-year married couples learn about and embrace a biblical foundation of marriage from a mentoring relationship built upon a curriculum focused on appropriate passages of Scripture?” The project will outline the biblical foundation of marriage and how first-year couples better can connect with that foundation through an intentional mentor relationship that leads them to a better understanding of four scriptural passages around marriage.
Chapter 1 introduces the problem, need, and purpose of the project. The thesis states that first-year married couples will show more commitment to the teachings of Scripture as a foundation to a lifetime of marriage after being mentored in a curriculum centered on those Scriptures.
Chapter 2 includes the biblical and theological foundations for developing a marriage mentor curriculum that will help first-year married couples understand why God established marriage. The theology of marriage, mentorship, and Christian education are treated in the chapter. This chapter also includes a review of related literature.
Chapter 3 details the writer’s goals, limitations, and plan for his project. The researcher will support the thesis statement and describe the process by which it was addressed through the project.
Chapter 4 explains in detail the writer’s formation of his workshop material. This chapter will give the reader an overview of the training material as well as the curriculum utilized in carrying out the couple-to-couple mentorship.
Chapter 5 provides a detailed evaluation demonstrating the results of the project implementation. The researcher related the research that supports the thesis statement through the results of the surveys taken by the newlywed couples.
Chapter 6 is a summary section. The researcher utilizes this chapter to give an overview of the project and gives examples of ways this project could be utilized in addition to the couple-to-couple mentorship.

The Dynamics of Spiritual Formation: Selected Case Studies on Christian Marital Health and its Contribution to Child Spiritual Formation

John Henry Peterson Jr. D.Ed.Min.
Baptist Minister, William Tiptaft coined this relevant declaration, “Children take more notice of what their parents do, than what they say.” Actions speak louder than words. Psychologist Albert Bandura would echo the same sentiment based upon his Bobo Doll experimentation. According to Bandura, people learn through observation, imitation, and modeling. The problem is more about what is not happening in the Christian home than what is happening in the Churches. Thus, the need to investigate the dynamic characteristics of healthy Christian marriages and the influence they have on the spiritual formation in children is a worthy study. This research will not examine the cause and effect of unhealthy marital relationships, but rather focus attention on healthy examples to extrapolate data promoting spiritual formation. The Christian husband and wife relationship plays a significant role in the spiritual formation in children. Children growing up in a family where parents consistently modeled a healthy Christian marriage are more likely to embrace a similar biblical worldview as their parents. Children who grew up in a home where a healthy Christian marriage exist will most likely take ownership of their own faith and spiritual growth as adults. Christian individuals who have parents who demonstrate healthy Christian marriages will be the participants in this study. The individuals interviewed will vary in how they perceive the influence of their parent’s marital relationship in their spiritual growth. The individuals interviewed will identify similarities between their view of life and their parents shared views. The individuals interviewed will exhibit an ongoing desire to maintain an intimate relationship with God and their spouse.


Steven Koster D.Min.
Media ministry publishes gospel content on paper, on the air, and online, but few robust feedback systems are in place to measure the spiritual impact of gospel broadcasts. This study articulated a theoretical foundation of a biblical theology and review of pastoral practices on children and parenting, published a resource on biblical parenting for distribution through the Internet, and then asked the audience for feedback.

The resource was rooted in a study of how the Bible regards both children and the task of parenting. The study also explored models of faith formation, pastoral parenting best practices, and a review of the religious landscape of contemporary youth. A 93-page electronic booklet (PDF) called “A Handbook of Biblical Parenting” was developed and shared with over a thousand people online, who were then invited via email to complete an online questionnaire.

The response rate was less than 2%, yet the audience was demographically in line with the expected audience. Most respondents were actively parenting young children, expressed an improvement in their parenting confidence, and found the resource practical, using its ideas several times. Most considered faith important to their parenting and found the resource to be encouraging, biblical, and educational. Most consumed the PDF deeply, even though most used a handheld mobile device. A repeated use of this prototype process would require a greater response rate to be consistently useful. Formatting for a small screen would be wise. The questions would require adaptation for other topics. Alternatively, a shorter version of the questionnaire could focus the inquiry more directly on gathering actionable information.

Research on the change of parents' attitude toward child-rearing through faith community

Sunhee Lee
This project explored the change of parents’ attitude toward child-rearing through the faith community. For this goal, I created and developed a curriculum in which parents are educated through five factors in the faith community: Koinonia, Didache, Leiturgia, Kerygma, and Diaconia. The analysis of the survey on parent education demonstrates that parents can change their rearing attitude for children through parents’ education conducted in the faith community. The five factors that only the faith community has can have positive effects on both parents’ faith and parents’ attitude toward child-rearing. Furthermore, this project proved that education for parents in the faith community can have positive effects on people outside of the church who don’t have faith.

[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.]

Study of the Ministry of Re-Parenting (Parenting) of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Jos, Nigeria

Gloria Ladi Kwashi D.Min.
Re-parenting of orphans and vulnerable children in Jos, Nigeria has proven to be the best way of bringing up children in place of orphanages. Using ethnographic tools and Proactive research methods, and a survey of the Old and New Testament, scholars in this field as well as field studies, the author has discovered that both the Christian community and society have clung onto the stereotype of side stepping responsibilities and keeping the vulnerable and orphaned children in institutions. Zambiri has proven the felt need of orphans is to have parents primarily. Re-parenting has therefore provided that need.
Re-parenting of orphans and vulnerable children in Jos, Nigeria has proven to be the best way of bringing up children in place of orphanages.

Forgiveness: The Heart of God

Marcia C. King D.Min.
Painful forgiveness issues often exist within families, even within the church. To understand what the Bible, theologians, and social scientists say about forgiveness, the story of Joseph and the Parable of the Prodigal Son were exegeted. The pastoral aspects of forgiveness were explored utilizing an ethnographic approach of, observations, a survey, and one-on-one interviews. The results of this project is a five-hour course, "Forgiveness: The Heart of God," which emphasizes the transformational power of Christ in forgiveness. The last class concludes with a Eucharistic prayer retreat for generational and inner healing.
Painful forgiveness issues often exist within families, even within the church.
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