Lay ministry

DEVELOPING ELDERS AT GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH OF SEAL BEACH

Author
Robert Wriedt D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry project created a training program for potential elders at Grace Community Church of Seal Beach. The first section of the project is a biblical and theological study of Christian leadership generally and eldership specifically that locates elder training within Christian discipleship. It then moves on to an integration of the contemporary literature on elder and board training, seeking to combine the best of theologically driven works (such as those by Anyabwile, Rinne, and Strauch) with writers focused on practical concerns (such as Busby or Malphurs and Mancini) as well as secular leadership theorists (such as Kouzes and Posner, Greenleaf, and Carver).

The qualitative research project itself focuses on how to train elders using a nine-week small group format. Since elder training is rooted in the growth of character (“Be”), knowledge (“Know”) and practice (“Do”), each week’s meeting included sections on theology, ministry skills, and Christian character. Participant growth was measured by interviews before, during, and after the conclusion of the nine weeks, as well as by observed behavior within the context of the group. The project appendices include full descriptions of the course content that was taught and the readings that were assigned to participants.

One of the key findings from this project was the necessity of training elders prior to their invitation to serve as elders, rather than waiting for them to begin service on the board or even before they were asked to serve as elders in the upcoming year. An analogy would be to compare it to pre-engagement counseling, rather than pre-marital or marital counseling. Participants stated that the training provided clarity of what was expected of elders was very helpful in their discernment process, which excited some and caused others to opt out of the process.

CREATING A LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY TO ALIGN AND EQUIP LEADERS AT GRACE LUTHERAN MINISTRIES

Author
Joel Howard D.Min.
Abstract
Grace Lutheran Ministries in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, strives to affect both its congregation and community through ministry. As ministry grows, it is essential for Grace to implement a strategy for developing leaders and deploying them into ministry. This major project focused on the essential nature, culture, and strategies for empowering leaders from not just the paid staff but from among all of God’s people and then developing them in areas of character and competency. The project also focused on the importance of alignment in the leadership development process.

The project utilized three research methods. First, a Biblical, theological, and literary study of leadership development was done in the areas of character, competency, and alignment. Second, questionnaires and a focus group were used to understand the current view of leadership development and alignment among Grace’s leaders. Third, the nominal group technique was utilized to brainstorm key ideas and strategies for the leadership development strategy.

A strategic plan was developed that began with creating a leadership culture around the unified use of language through leadership principles. Then, four strategic goals were created to develop, deploy, and debrief leaders at Grace through the use of small groups, coaching, and large group settings. Finally, the effectiveness of the leadership principles and strategic goals were evaluated by Grace’s senior staff through a SWOT analysis.

Listening: The Heart of Christian Healing Prayer

Author
Sandra B. Kerner
Abstract
Students desiring formation in Christian healing prayer ministry participated in a training course which fostered knowledge and practices of good listening and healing prayer demonstrated in ministry with one another. Students gave feedback to one another on developing skills and reflected on their learning experiences as a community of practice. Course design addressed the need for specific training, practice, and feedback in listening within the practice of healing prayer, listening to God and people, so that healing, empowered by the Holy Spirit, may be enhanced. Biblical and theological sources (from Hilary, Calvin, Wimber, and Payne) undergirded content and practices.
Students desiring formation in Christian healing prayer ministry participated in a training course which fostered knowledge and practices of good listening and healing prayer demonstrated in ministry with one another.

How a Study of Biblical Individualism and the Body of Christ Affects Young People’s
Willingness to Engage in Church Leadership at First Presbyterian Church, Alliance,
Nebraska

Author
Kim Y Jay D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis researched the issue of an independent and individualistic mindset of young people in their 20s to 40s at First Presbyterian Church Alliance in Nebraska. This mindset is associated with their unwillingness to participate in church leadership. Understanding the biblical and literary foundations of individualism and collectivism are the core approach to confronting this mentality which is exhibited in behaviors of egocentricity, selfishness, or egoism. The biblical and literary principles of individualism and collectivism are intrinsically harmonized with a sense of unity which is actualized in a recognition of self-value as an autonomous being. An individual as an autonomous and rational being should recognize his and her inner attributes and utilize them for the needs of others. The nature of unity is the corporate reality of all individuals which is represented in the characteristics of the body of Christ. Learning true individual value and unity would benefit the young people and encourage them to get involved in church leadership.

Equipping selected lay leaders of Haitian Emmanuel Baptist Church, Miami, Florida, with expository preaching skills

Author
Wadler Jules
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to equip selected lay preachers of Haitian Emmanuel Baptist Church, Miami, Florida, with expository preaching skills. The project director began researching the field of expository preaching to discover essential expository preaching skills. Following the initial research on expository preaching the project director completed a study on curriculum and lesson design and development in order to write a series of lessons on crafting effective expository sermons. These lessons became his guide as he led a series of training sessions to equip the group of selected lay preachers of Haitian Emmanuel Baptist Church, Miami, Florida, with expository preaching skills.

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.

The importance of reading congregational culture for effective church leadership

Author
Edwin Eng Wei Wong
Abstract
This project paper seeks to provide practical tools to help pastors and leaders understand congregational culture to effectively lead their ministries. Drawing pointers from the servant-leadership practices of Nehemiah as well as other resources, the author formulates approaches to managing transition and leading change. Recommendations, based on broad observations from a survey on a small group of itinerant pastors in Singapore, are subsequently drawn.

[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.]

Church leadership and the crisis of theological identity

Author
Michael Drew Shelley
Abstract
The crisis of leadership supposedly ravaging the Church in the 21st century obscures a deeper crisis of theological identity in which churches, pastors, and lay leaders have forgotten who they are, the home to which they belong, and the mission to which God calls them. The presenting symptoms of this crisis of identity are pastors and churches stuck in places of ineffectiveness, hopelessness, unhealthy expectations of each other, and general malaise. The project for renewed pastoral and lay leadership at Crossville FUMC has focused on the means of grace by which the Triune God creates the being of the church and from which emerge the corresponding practices of leadership which prepare the congregation for its ministry in the community. Pastors and people reclaim their identity by engaging the crisis of identity through theological questions of identity, “Who is God who creates the Church?” And, “who are we as the Church before God?” In so doing, churches clarify their identity as disciples of Jesus claimed by God in our baptism, members of God’s household with a place at God’s Table, and a community of disciples forever called into God’s mission. . . .

[Note: 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. The abstract was shortened in length to adhere to the submission requirements.]

Exploring white fire : bibliodrama as a tool to spur theological reflection on leadership among St. Paul's United Methodist Church lay leaders

Author
Matthew A. Paugh
Abstract
In line with The United Methodist Church's emphasis on strengthening lay leaders and its charge for administrative committees to engage in "biblical and theological reflection," the author designed a retreat featuring Bibliodrama as a method to explore the biblical text. Bibliodrama exercises focused on Moses and Jethro (Exod. 18:1-27), Deborah and Barak (Judg. 4:1-24), and Jesus and the disciples (Mark 10:35-45). Through surveys, questionnaires, and interviews, the author finds that Bibliodrama provides an effective tool to enable lay leaders to participate in biblical and theological reflection on the nature of leadership.

[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.]

Training and Equipping the Urban Church for Missional Engagement Utilizing Fivefold Ministry Gift Curriculum

Author
Gregory Emmett Bell Sr
Abstract
Philadelphia urban church members may not be receiving adequate training on how to participate in the mission of God. According to secular and Christian research, church attendance is declining along with adherence to the teaching and application of Scripture. Statistical analysis of both Christian and secular research, demographic, and crime data confirm the researcher’s hypothesis that the urban churches of Philadelphia need a curriculum for missional engagement. Model Studies of two other ministry schools were also conducted and critiqued to glean from each institution’s experience. The research, literature review, and model studies were used to determine the best approach to perhaps produce supernatural results in the community. This applied research project examines the impact of a missional engagement curriculum designed for laypersons within a Philadelphia urban church, on the fivefold ministry gifts, also referred to by the writer as the five apportioned gifts of Christ. Scripture and other Christian literature were carefully examined to ensure understanding and acceptance of the gifts for today in the body of Christ. The students were taught how to function in their gift as part of a fivefold gift ministry team and complete a ministry project at the end of the semester.
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