Methodist Churches

Lives Aglow: A Study of the Vocational Lives and Testimonies of Congregational Leaders at First United Methodist Church

Author
William Cato
Abstract
This project addressed a lack of opportunities for Christian vocational discernment at First United Methodist Church in Arkadelphia, Arkansas (FUMCA). The research question asked what effect, if any, the public speech of leaders would have on the vocational self-understanding of congregants. The hypothesis postulated that the public testimonies of congregational leaders, coupled with a sermon series, would produce an increase in the percentage of congregants who identify as called to participate in God’s redemptive work. While the hypothesis could not be substantiated, the project produced vocational agitation among congregants. Results indicated the need for follow-up measures to sustain lasting change.

The Sanctified Journey: Labyrinths and Gospel Contemplation in a Wesleyan Context

Author
Matthew R.J. McEwen D.Min.
Abstract
Spiritual formation is the process of following Jesus and how we become like him. Although some view this process as a linear experience, the pattern of a labyrinth is another way to describe this spiritual journey. The image of a labyrinth is not only used as the model of spiritual formation, but is also the metaphor employed throughout a spiritual autobiography and a summary of a ministry research project. Research was conducted at Holt Free Methodist Church and involved a small group that had the opportunity to walk a canvas labyrinth while practicing Gospel contemplation. A narrative methodology was used for interpreting the data that was collected through field notes, the use of a denominational survey, and exit interviews. Just as individuals walk a labyrinth at a unique pace, the same result is seen in the practice of Gospel contemplation. The uniqueness of an individual is a key component to the process of spiritual formation. The outcome of this research project resulted in spiritual growth for the researcher, the participants and the congregation in general.

Merging biblical/theological curriculum with vocational programs : a way forward for Methodist divisional schools in Fiji

Author
Semisi Turagavou
Abstract
The author researched about the way forward to enhance the Divisional School's education program. This project paper described the importance of merging theological and biblical curriculum with vocational subjects. In the process of writing the paper, the author visited Divisional schools and interviewed stakeholders as methods of collecting information. Through researched and interviewed, the author affirmed that merging the two programs is definitely a positive way forward for enhancing the Methodist Divisional Schools' programs. In this regard, students of Divisional schools are not only learning biblical subjects, but they are also enriched and equipped with vocational skills.

[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 exploration of John Wesley's transformational leadership, with a special focus on church revival and church growth and its challenge and relevance for the Wembley Methodist Circuit (WMC)

Author
Kofi Dennis Tekyi-Ansah
Abstract
The U. K. Methodist Church is in gradual decline, because it now exists in a postmodern, post-Christendom milieu. There is also a lack of effective transformational leadership skills among its leaders. A new ontology and new praxis are needed to address this new reality. This essay integrates transformational leadership characteristics and its practical application within John Wesley’s “Twelve Rules of a Helper,” updated by Mark L. Gorveatte in his Book “Lead like Wesley” as a catalyst tool, to equip the leaders of the Wembley Methodist Circuit (WMC) to initiate church growth. It is argued that these tools are not an end, but a major catalyst that can enable the Methodist Church to experience growth and revival.

[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.]

The dream of discovery : preaching strategies for Wesleyan connection and identity

Author
J. Adam Sowder
Abstract
The author researched and developed preaching strategies to help integrate a local United Methodist church into a life of Wesleyan connection and identity. This effort was to stop their decline and aid their identity challenge, which included the retirement of their founding pastor of 33 years. This case study used the ethnographic method through participant observation and field notes. Metrics were collected and produced throughout the year and a half in which the project took place. These metrics show a stop of local church decline with ensuing growth in Wesleyan connection and identity through spiritual, numerical, and financial means.

[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.]

Lesson plan for stability : an examination of the long-term pastorate

Author
John M. McCay III
Abstract
The author examined how long-term tenures can be beneficial in the United Methodist Church's itinerant system. He reflected on the works from theologians such as Scott Jones, Henry Rack, Laceye Warner, Ted Campbell and Lovett Weems, along with The Rule of St. Benedict. Through the interviews of twelve church members from a variety of congregations, seven long-term tenured clergy members and two District Superintendents gained input from the pew to the pulpit on the advantages and disadvantages of long-term pastorates. The author then produced a lesson plan for pastors who find themselves or desire to be in a long-term pastorate.

[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.]

Equipping staff parish relations committees to have crucial conversations that lead to greater syzygy with staff and improved performance

Author
John A. Laughlin Sr.
Abstract
Syzygy is to be a team that moves as one, pulling powerfully in the same direction. In the United Methodist Church, the Staff Parish Relations Committee has the responsibility to supervise the work of church staff, but too many are faltering in their duties. This project details a workshop designed to guide the church in becoming more effective in directing and supervising the work of staff. Participants will learn how to create a culture of trust and accountability that leads to improved staff performance. Failing to manage staff, ignoring division, and tolerating poor performance is bad stewardship.

[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.]

Diversity is not division : brand loyalty and strengthening ecclesial identity through distinctively Wesleyan liturgical design

Author
Kyle Ivy
Abstract
What if secular organizational concepts, such as “brand loyalty” were tactically employed by congregations in an effort to strengthen ecclesial identity among parishioners and communities? Successful branding is achieved through specialization and differentiation. Theologically, this is the process of discerning the spiritual gifts and calling-to-ministry of individuals and communities. Practically, this is the implementation and marketing of those distinct spiritual gifts in order to faithfully serve God and underrepresented worldviews in a community. This project follows the brand development of one rural congregation, which led to strengthened ecclesial identity or “brand loyalty” among parishioners through adopting distinctively Wesleyan liturgical practices.

[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.]

Wellsprings in the wilderness : forming shared ministries as a United Methodist renewal strategy

Author
Kevin R. Conrad
Abstract
In our current situation, named an ecclesial and cultural wilderness, a return to the wellsprings of theology as a source of ecclesial renewal is essential. In the tradition of Wesleyan practical divinity, the project focuses on formation of cooperative parishes as a theologically sound means of reordering the life of the church with the hope of missional renewal. The outcome of the project demonstrates how ecclesial and theological renewal complement each other. The author researched how formation of intentional Christian community can unleash new missional connection and capacity in a rural setting.

[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.]

Mystic sweet communion : holy conversation and the sanctification of the church

Author
Carol T. Cavin-Dillon
Abstract
The United Methodist Church is in crisis. For nearly fifty years its members have struggled to find consensus around the inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the life of the church. When congregations, Annual and General Conferences are tasked with voting, polarization deepens. However, when Christians gather for holy conversation, where there is genuine listening and open sharing, the result is often an awareness of deeper unity. This paper explores how holy conversation affected two different congregations. The author offers this model in the hope that it will help other congregations to remain committed to one another and to the Church.

[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.]
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