Interpersonal relations

Cultivating holy friendships : an ecumenical cohort model for redemptive social change

Author
Thomas A. Williams
Abstract
"The project question the author engaged was this: How can I connect local ecumenical leaders together to support and build courage together to make a faithful, sustained, redemptive social change in local communities? The author argues in this paper that faithful movements for redemptive social change arise from leaders who were supported, challenged, complimented, and inspired by a community of friends. This paper outlines the condition of loneliness in our culture and among our clergy and congregations, and how an intentional cohort model of support can connect clergy to one another around community issues of importance. In the course of this project the author met with community clergy, researched other cohort models, and attempted to assemble those pastors together. The model adjusted from a "convening" model toward gatherings centered on an issue. The issue carried the convening power rather than the idea of convening a group of potential friends." -- Leaf [2].

Nurturing clergy and laity relationships for effective ministry

Author
Drexel N. Mitchell
Abstract
"This project explores the challenges of the decline in clergy and laity relationships within local Christian Methodist Episcopal Churches on the Fort Worth District which has significantly impacted upward trajectory in creating an atmosphere of effective ministry. The project revealed that clergy and laity alike share mutual positive and negative concerns that, if bridged together with intentionality, provide a viable schematic for fostering evangelistic growth and the spiritual formation of disciples. Conclusively, the pastors, lay persons and churches of the Fort Worth District have displayed and experienced improvement in the area of church administration and refocused ministries that have the potential to increase growth spiritually and numerically." -- Leaf [2].

No Longer Servants, But Friends: Toward a Relational Approach to Spiritual Leadership Development

Author
Rebecca J. Girrell D.Min.
Abstract
No Longer Servants, but Friends: Toward a Relational Approach to Spiritual Leadership Development is a participatory action research project in which the pastor-researcher and the leadership development team (LDT) of a small United Methodist congregation worked collaboratively to shift the team’s mindset and methods from nominations to leadership development. Using a shared leadership model and tools of appreciative inquiry, the pastor-researcher encouraged the LDT to identify gaps in the church’s leadership system and brainstorm and implement possible solutions. The intervention took place during the 2019-2020 program year and was, therefore, affected by the unanticipated challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the pastor-researcher’s move to a different church. This allowed the pastor-researcher to observe the LDT’s shift in mindset and methods under the pressure of these circumstances.
The pastor-researcher observed the LDT’s process and outcomes and evaluated the members’ self-reported experiences via questionnaire, group interviews, and meeting transcripts. The key findings of the study illustrated that the LDT members experienced their process favorably, especially as evidenced by adopting the collaborative and systemic approaches they experienced in the intervention and applying these approaches to their work with other church leaders. Additionally, the study found that LDT members reported reduced anxiousness in their tasks, increased confidence in their effectiveness, and strong commitment to their shift in mindset, even in the face of the unanticipated crises. Most LDT members attributed these positive experiences to aspects of the intervention, including shared purpose, understanding of the church leadership system, collaborative leadership, and relationship with the pastor-researcher. The pastor-researcher identified opportunity for further study regarding long-term effects of such interventions and the impacts of interpersonal relationships, particularly with the pastor, on the experience and process of church leadership development.

A study on healthy Christian community formation through relational spirituality

Author
Young-wan Song
Abstract
This paper defines the essential spirituality of a Christian and interprets spirituality necessary at the moment under a frame of relationship through a view of spirituality to recover relationships. recovery of relationship requires special (relational) spirituality, which must reach out to relationships with others by recovering full relationship with God through a life that pursues whole inhaling God’s spirit and seek for the image of God.

[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.]

An army chaplain's guide to help single servicemembers navigate the dating process

Author
Patrick Hester
Abstract
This project presents training to help single servicemembers safely navigate the dating process. The training, unlike the Army’s Single Soldiers Strong Bonds program, welcomes a single servicemembers’ romantic partner. This training incorporates key elements of the Strong Bonds' training, but in less time and with additional resources. The author prepared a questionnaire addressing key aspects of dating for the members of the 3rd Squadron 61st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. The feedback was used to develop training that focuses on helping single servicemembers acquire the knowledge needed to assess if a potential romantic partner’s qualities are conducive for a healthy romantic relationship.

[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.]

BENEFITS OF MULTI-ETHNIC DIVERSITY FROM A MAJORITY CULTURE PERSPECTIVE AT A CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL IN VOUCHER PROGRAM: A STUDY OF WISCONSIN LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL IN MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

Author
Kenneth Fisher D.Min.
Abstract
Entering the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), a voucher program, enabled Wisconsin Lutheran High School (WLHS) to become a multi-ethnic Christian high school, fulfilling the Great Commission's call to "make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19) while offering its students the many benefits of ethnic diversity. In order to assist in the recruitment of a balanced multi-ethnic student body, this project explores the positive benefits from the majority culture perspective of Caucasian parents whose students attended WLHS in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The project's biblical exploration centers on the Great Commission's call for ethnic inclusion, as well as the biblical issues related to maintaining a healthy, multi-ethnic diversity in a high school. The review of contemporary literature explores the problem of school segregation; the demonstrable benefits of multi-ethnic schools for white students; the role parental perceptions play in school selection; and the special way a multi-ethnic Christian school can deal with racism and segregation as spiritual problems.

Key findings of the project included: white parents are more likely to listen to other white parents than objective data; diversity is more often a reason to reject a school than a factor in selecting a school; parents' positive perceptions of safety and academic rigor are vital; and parents' understanding of diversity's benefits grow as they reflect more deeply upon them.

When prophets speak to kings: Air Force chaplains and the praxis of leadership advisement

Author
Glen E. Harris Jr.
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to understand how Air Force chaplains advise superior military leaders on religious and ethical matters. Specifically, the qualitative research addressed what informs Air Force chaplains’ understanding of leadership, what Air Force chaplains do as they advise military leaders, what challenges are faced by Air Force chaplains in advising leaders, and how Air Force chaplains evaluate their own effectiveness in advising military leaders.
The findings were, first, that Air Force chaplains develop their understanding of leadership advisement primarily through experience. Some rely on the theological concepts of pastoral identity to buttress their experience, but years of trial and error in the core capability is the dominant path. Furthermore, chaplains rely on a nexus of communication and collaboration with the senior leaders they advise. And they adopt an approach inclusive of both data and relationship, with the latter being paramount. They also see spiritual care and leadership advisement as being two closely interrelated acts of pastoral ministry. Next, the challenges that Air Force chaplains face in advisement involve primarily power differentials and information fidelity. Finally, chaplains evaluate their effectiveness in leadership advisement in terms of building healthy organizational climates and building trust with senior leaders, even while struggling with questions of ineffectiveness and self-doubt.
The study provided three primary conclusions. First, chaplains would benefit from scenario-based coursework early in their careers to jettison the trend of experience-only development in advising leaders. Second, integrating emotional intelligence into the corporate ethos of the Air Force Chaplain Corps synergizes future success in leadership advisement by giving chaplains the boldness and courage to wield a pastoral and yet prophetic voice. Third, for a chaplain to lead a senior leader with advisement that is both on target and on time, they must first be skilled followers or “second chair leaders”.

Mutuality: in God's image : a study of women and men in a ministerial context

Author
Marci Anne Madary
Abstract
Mutuality: In God's image studied how women and men minister together. In contrast to the Roman Catholic Church's teaching of complementarity--which designates gender-assigned gifts--the synergistic dynamic of mutuality was examined through philosophical, ethical, and anthropological lenses. Three contemporary pairs were interviewed, and three historical pairs were studied, specifically Francis and Clare of Assisi, Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. The researcher found that mutuality between women and men is a benefit for the church and the common good because it allows a fuller expression of the Reign of God to be experienced.

"Why Are People Hungry?"

Author
Kenneth W Cox
Abstract
This project paper seeks to answer the question,"Why are people hungry?" through a deeper biblical understanding of bread and hunger. It outlines a replicable process which identified local causes of hunger through a series of interviews and coaching with local food pantry participants. These participants were then connected with available community resources that could help alleviate their cause of hunger leading to transformed lives. The process was replicated or considered at different levels in five additional local church settings. The results revealed that relationships formed between the volunteers and participants was the most transformative aspect of this project.
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