Resting to Preach: A Biblical—Theological Evaluation of Rest Toward the Preparation of Sermons

Stephen Trent Thomas M.Div.

Resting to Preach: A Biblical—Theological Evaluation of Rest
Towards the Preparation of Sermons

This project will argue that, because deliberate rest is restorative to the intellect and to creativity, and because preaching preparation is a creative and intellectual endeavor, preachers should intentionally incorporate deliberate rest into their sermon-preparation process. The writer will explore the biblical basis for rest using six passages of Scripture. Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 20:8-11 will establish the importance of Sabbath rest. Psalm 19 will describe rest as one experiences nature. Matthew 11:25-30 will reveal the rest Jesus promises to those who are weak and heavy-laden. Mark 6:30-44 will develop the rest Jesus provides to His followers when they become overwhelmed with ministry. Hebrews 3:18-4:13 will explore the rest promised to the obedient.
The writer will present research from scientific sources. Rest, Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Sooing-Kim Pang, The Wandering Mind by Michael Corbalis, In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honoré, and The Secret World of Sleep by Penelope Lewis are the sources that will reveal the value of sleep to the intellect and to human creativity.
The writer will survey Christian authors to provide biblical insight into the value of sleep. These books are Saints’ Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter, The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan, The Art of Rest by Adam Mabry, Subversive Sabbath by A. J. Swoboda, and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. These authors accentuate the necessity of rest for the follower of Jesus.
The project’s goal is to help preachers improve their preaching by adding various forms of rest during their sermon-preparation process.


Cor M Chmieleski D.Min.
The purpose of this project was to identify common challenges facing leaders in the
second generation of large churches. This was the reality of Hope Community Church
Downtown (HCC DT) in Minneapolis, MN at the time of this paper’s formation. Specific areas
of challenge which have been explored include growth from small to large and transitions in
leadership between generation and senior leaders. The fortification of the church depends on
building an accurate list of common challenges that can be later addressed by church staff and

The process utilized to accomplish that purpose included robust biblical and literature
research followed by interviews with seven pastors serving in churches similar to HCC DT. The
initial research led to a preliminary list of challenges which were then utilized in interviews to
determine their relative validity within the lived experiences of pastors. Analysis of the research
and field work revealed five significant findings churches must address for the sake of long-term
endurance: (1) Answer the question, “Who are we today?”, (2) Address unavoidable realities, (3)
Foster the following, (4) Protect against these, and (5) Achieve success in pastoral succession.
Each of these is explained and illustrated with real-life examples from within local churches.

Upon completion of this project, a list of common challenges was presented to the elders
and staff of HCC DT. It was then their responsibility to read, discuss, pray, and respond to the
challenges addressed herein.

Faith-Driven Impact Investing: Renewing a Belief that an Investment in Entrepreneurialism and Commerce is Central to God's Plan of Redemption and Human Flourishing

Jonathan Mark Halverson D.Min.
This project addressed the need for a renewed belief among faith-driven investors that investments in redemptive businesses is central to God’s plan of redemption and biblical human flourishing. The explosive growth of values-aligned investing, such as Socially Responsible Investing and impact investing, has opened the door to introducing values into investment decision-making. There are significant opportunities for Christ followers to align their biblical values with their investment strategies, and to “put to work” (Matt. 25:16) resources apportioned to them by God; however, they have been slow to embrace the opportunities. Research was conducted to understand the underlying biblical-theological beliefs of high-net-worth individuals and wealth management advisors that support or discourage faith-driven impact investing. The parable of the talents was dissected to understand Jesus’ intent when he chose the Greek word talanton to communicate his leadership expectation to his closest follower. The Quakers are highlighted as an example of a group that embraced commerce as a primary strategy for expressing their faith, providing for their families, developing young leaders, and engaging with the world. The research findings were synthesized into a new biblical-theological framework for Kingdom Impact Investing that is offered as a model for the growing faith-driven impact investing movement. A major goal of this project was to contribute to the broader biblical-theological conversation regarding the integration of faith and investing. Values-driven Christ followers should be on the leading edge of impact investing instead of lagging far behind.


Tim Graham D.Min.
This project seeks an understanding of issues related to African Traditional Religion (ATR) that bear upon the churches of the pastors attending a biannual conference on preparing exegetical sermons and to develop a theological statement to be used to discourage ATR from further infiltrating the local churches represented at the conference. The pastors, mostly from South Africa, participated in a Delphi research process that promoted individual input about each person’s encounter with ATR issues in the first round. This input was reviewed and prioritized by the participants in the second two rounds identifying the five most significant challenges of ATR to their local churches. The study concluded with a roundtable discussion intending to address the influence of ATR and whether a theological statement would be helpful in that endeavor. Because the environment being addressed was a pastors’ conference on exegesis, the goal was to influence the preaching of these pastors in a way that would address the influence of ATR. This final project goal found a low level of support and met with some resistance.

Enhancing the chaplain's role in support of suicide prevention efforts : an active duty army battalion chaplain's pursuit of saving soldiers' lives

Christopher J. Washburn
"Chaplains bear the weight of Soldier welfare and care alongside their religious support mission. Without requiring new regulations or major overhauls in chaplain functionality, this author contends that through intentionally leveraging one's duties, an active duty Army chaplain might significantly augment the existing program of suicide prevention in a way that results in saving lives - for Soldiers to utilize chaplain support. This project explored three potential avenues of attack: chaplain integration training, expanded spiritual fitness events, and identification of barriers. Initial analysis suggests that such life-saving focused efforts have a positive impact upon building connection and fostering help-seeking behaviors." -- Leaf [2].

Triple P (Prayer, Praise, and Perseverance) : building spiritual resiliency with prisoners incarcerated at USACA-E

Myron C. Byles
"Service members in the United States Armed Services are praised and honored by the nation. On the contrary, service members lose the respect of the nation when sentenced to the correctional facility (USACA-E) in Sembach, Germany. Most of these service members lose all of their medical, educational, and financial benefits from the United States government. It does not matter how many deployments or years the service members have devoted to the country. Their criminal acts can override any successes of their past. The prisoners at USACA-E benefit from the 6-weeks Triple P program. Triple P assist prisoners with skills to become spiritually resilient during their incarceration. The program offers hope to prisoners in seemingly hopeless situations." -- Leaf [2].

Healing from moral injury in the military context

Chad A. Bowman
"This project explores healing for soldiers suffering from moral injury due to their military experience in a combat environment. The author examines how moral injury occurs and the effects it has on those who are suffering from it. The study includes a survey of soldiers deployed to a combat environment in order to assess possible moral injury due to traumatic experiences. The use of counseling interviews inform the analysis of healing patterns and potential models for a reconciliation process of soul wounds. The project concludes with recommendations for helping chaplains and religious providers care with those healing from moral injury in the military context." -- Leaf [2].

Ministry at sea : lessons learned from a 295 day deployment aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)

Michael Ray Baker
"[In this project paper, the author examined and compared the ministry of the Apostle Paul and the role of chaplains in the United States Navy]. [The author focused] on the four core competencies of the United States Navy Chaplain Corps: provision, advisement, facilitation, and care. [Specifically, the author wanted to determine how well chaplains implemented the four competencies during extended deployments.] [The primary] method to analyze results [was] voluntary surveys given to the sailors within the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group. [Analysis of the data] suggests [that the] four core competencies were faithfully executed during the 295-day deployment." -- Leaf [2].

A Theological Curriculum of Church Revitalization From First Corinthians for Fellowship Church in Southwest Florida

Timothy Chad Pigg D.Min.
Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians serves as the source of the curriculum developed for church revitalization at Fellowship Church of Southwest Florida. The researcher argued that biblical orthodoxy leads to biblical orthopraxy, which will create a situation conducive for church revitalization. The project has three chapters. In Chapter 1 the project is proposed. Chapter 2 explains, in detail, the implementation of the project. Finally, in Chapter 3, the researcher provides an analysis of the data gathered concerning the effectiveness of 1 Corinthians for church revitalization at Fellowship Church of Southwest Florida. The researcher concluded that the effectiveness of church revitalization at Fellowship Church of Southwest Florida was linked to biblical orthodoxy being taught and applied in the congregation.

The Art of "Naming Grace." Nurturing everyday mysticism in the life of the contemporary Christian.

Gerardine Ann Doherty Sr D.Min.
Is the Holy Spirit alive among God’s people today? Does the Catholic Church recognize the potential of such a reality? Do ministers nurture, encourage, uphold this gift of God’s extravagance ~ grace operative and dynamic in each member?
The core of this thesis-project explores the ‘instinctive hunch’ that God’s Spirit is present and moving among God’s people, be it often yearning recognition, deliverance and liberation. The potential for all the baptized to fully embrace their already-God-given giftedness, is something not yet fully conceived.
By briefly presenting the experience of mysticism through historical interpretation, acknowledging contemporary spiritual authors and gathering current spiritual experience of ‘ordinary’ people, the stage is set to introduce Karl Rahner’s notion of everyday mysticism. Then, convinced of the extravagance of God, a final question is surveyed: Should existing theological, spiritual and psychological ministerial assumptions be challenged, in order for the fullness of Vatican II’s “universal call to holiness” to be a reality?

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