Mission of the church

Identificación de Factores Que Contribuyen al Crecimiento de ta Sede Hispanohablante del Modelo Multisitio de Grace Church, in Greenville, Carolina del Sur.

Author
Robby Richard D.Min.
Abstract
El objetivo de la presente investigación es identificar los factores, desde la perspectiva del liderazgo de la iglesia, que contribuyen al crecimiento de la sede hispanohablante de Grace Church, en Greenville, Carolina del Sur, EE. UU., y, por ende, que contribuyen al alcance de la comunidad hispanohablante en su contexto con el evangelio.

El modelo de iglesia multisitio está formado por congregaciones que se consideran parte de una misma iglesia local y se reúnen en diferentes lugares geográficos y espacios físicos. A pesar de que no cuenta con una larga trayectoria de años, ya ha evidenciado signos positivos de eficacia para el alcance evangelístico de diversas comunidades pluriculturales. Estas huellas de competencia del modelo se hacen visibles en resultados observables en la experiencia práctica de su aplicación y en datos disponibles en diversas fuentes.

La presente investigación reveló que los factores propuestos en las hipótesis formuladas son, en efecto, válidos. Además, aportó información valiosa sobre otras dos características específicas del ámbito organizacional y eclesial que fortalecen la relación entre la sede hispanohablante y la iglesia anglohablante. Estas constituyen la base esencial para la efectividad de los elementos propuestos en las hipótesis.

Para aquellas iglesias que deseen implementar el modelo multisitio, es recomendable tomar en cuenta el entorno demográfico donde se desea abrir una sede, las características propias del tipo de la comunidad eclesial que se desea, y los principios únicos que cimientan toda comunidad hispana.

An Evaluation of Arab Evangelistic Efforts of Jewish People in Israel

Author
Moshe Loewenthal D.Min.
Abstract
This applied research project aimed to evaluate the reasons why the Arab Christian body of believers in Israel does not evangelize Israeli Jews. This research consisted of three parts: (1) Clarification of theological views that hinder Jewish evangelism; (2) Surveys to detect the reasons why evangelism is not done; (3) Interviews with Arab leaders and one messianic pastor to gain their perspective on the reasons why Arab brothers and sisters are not evangelizing to the Jews.

This project had three hypotheses:

• There is a lack of Jewish Evangelism from the Arab Christians toward the Jewish people in Israel because of the difference in culture and politics.
• There is a lack of Jewish Evangelism from the Arab Christians toward the Jewish people in Israel because of a lack of knowledge in how to do it.
• There is a lack of evangelism from the Arab Christians toward the Jewish people in Israel because of their belief in replacement theology.

The first two surveys were given to Arab Christian leaders and believers of churches from Israel. The surveys focused on their spiritual life, politics, the land of Israel, and Zionism. They ended with asking about their engagement in Jewish evangelism. I hoped to discover whether Jewish evangelism exists and if not, why.

The surveys and interviews of the Arab leaders and pastors in Israel evaluated whether the hypotheses were correct and helped discover the next steps for change regarding Jewish evangelism from our Arab brothers and sisters in Israel. The surveys and interviews supported my hypotheses. Other issues that might hinder Arabs from sharing the gospel with Jews in Israel were found as well. These issues might become the foundation for other research projects.

The Development and Evaluation of a Discipleship Program for the Beijing Yizhuang District

Author
Long Cheng D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
Before Jesus rises to heaven, he said to his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth. has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20) This is Jesus’ final commandment before risen to heaven. Jesus considers this great commandment very important. He expects his disciples to complete this comment faithfully, earnestly, and proactively. This is also the church that his followers gather, who carry forward this mission faithfully.

With many years of observation of church’s growth, I have found that some mega churches have very good church environment, abundant offering in number, but there are very few true disciples who can really live a life like Jesus, who are really willing to follow Jesus. Jesus has said to the fig tree by the roadside “May you never bear fruit again!” (Mt 21:19b) Many churches are like this fig tree with many leaves cover the tree. It looks very good from the outside, but it does not bear fruit. This is what Jesus hates.

With this study, I hope to explore a discipleship training, which will suit church and help disciples grow spiritually under biblical principles. I also hope that this training will help many other churches in the similar background.

Factores Que Promueven Una Pastoral Integral Hacia el Inmigrante Indocumentado en las Iglesias en el Valle de San Gabriel en el Condado de Los Ángeles

Author
Héctor Alas D.Min.
Abstract
El movimiento migratorio desde cualquier punto del planeta hacia los Estados Unidos es una realidad de dimensiones gigantescas. La complejidad de este fenómeno es tal, que ha llevado a las oficinas del gobierno norteamericano a repensar sus políticas, tanto internas para los que ya se encuentran en el país, como para los que buscan aventurarse intentando llegar. Pero no son los únicos, también ha desatado una incertidumbre generalizada para los que ofrecen sus servicios legales en el manejo de los procesos para formalizar su documentación.

La iglesia cristiana no es la excepción dentro de esa complejidad. Como tal, por su misión esencial hacia el prójimo, por encima de cualquier tendencia política, está llamada a mostrar el corazón de Dios hacia el inmigrante en maneras concretas. Para encaminar a la iglesia en su desafío hacia una pastoral integral a favor del inmigrante, se investigarán los factores que contribuyen a lograrla. Los instrumentos que facilitarán la investigación serán encuestas y estudios de casos. Lo anterior permitirá recabar la información de lo que se hace actualmente, y determinará también lo que podría hacerse en la amplitud que se desprende a partir de lo que la Biblia propone.

Al término de la investigación se ofrecerán 3 factores indispensables para que la iglesia cumpla con su misión pastoral de manera integral en un contexto multicultural. Los factores aludidos son los siguientes: 1) el entendimiento de la misión integral prescrita en la Biblia, 2) la implementación de ministerios de misericordia a favor de los inmigrantes indocumentados, 3) la promoción de alianzas estratégicas con organizaciones que realizan una pastoral integral.

The effects of big picture presentations of the biblical story on the missional orientation of church goers

Author
Kyungsoo Kim
Abstract
Nearly a half-century of Christian scholarship points to the ongoing issue of missional deficiency within the Church, a pressing concern that coincides with Christianity’s observed decline in the West. Research on the subject indicates a widespread de-emphasis on God’s mission within Christian institutions, from churches great and small to the seminaries that train their leaders. This consequentially obstructs the missional development of individual believers, the true units of the Body of Christ, who were sent by Christ to carry out God’s mission and advance God’s Kingdom not only overseas, but in their local communities. Given this stagnant and self-defeating state of the Western Church, a remedy that restores the Church through breakthrough missional growth must be found. For this study, a cross-disciplinary methodology was constructed from the substance of scripture, the unifying lens of biblical theology, and relevant social scientific models specifically concerned with the idea adoption process and the effectiveness of training practices. The research conducted reveals that yes, a focused missional message with a unifying emphasis on scripture can observably improve the missional orientation of believers, realigning them with God’s mission in their daily lives. The implications and applications of the results are significant, showing that all test group participants improved significantly in their missional knowledge and missional postures/attitudes after receiving the big picture message. There were also significant indications that participants were forming missional intentions/decisions that could inform future implementation of missional behaviors for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. This study provides ample evidence that the key to developing the missional orientation and awareness of churchgoers is a big picture approach to the biblical story, which traces the origins and trajectory of God’s mission from the days of Moses to the end of days.

HOW EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IN THE CHICAGO METRO AREA ARE ENGAGING MUSLIM COMMUNITIES

Author
Michael Urton D.Min.
Abstract
This project examined how local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area are engaging local Muslim communities. It asked a main research question along with two additional questions to frame the study. The main research question was how are specific local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area engaging local Muslim communities? The two additional questions were used to answer the main research question in a more precise manner. The first one was what are some of the challenges that these local churches encountered when engaging Muslims? The second was what lessons can be learned from the experiences of these congregations when mobilizing churches to engage Muslims?

This study began by stating the problem of attitudes towards Muslims in the West with special focus on evangelical Christians in the United States. It then discussed the important role that evangelical churches in the United States have in engaging the Muslim community.

A theological/biblical basis along with a philosophical foundation from a review of precedent literature supported this project. This foundation can assist evangelical Christians in knowing the lengths they can go in their engagement with Muslims, as well as realizing the distinctives that they must maintain.

Data collections were conducted for this study to explore the research questions. These included twenty-one semi-structured qualitative interviews with people at seven different churches, participant observations of events that these churches did with Muslims, and a collection of documentary evidence. The data from this study was organized into findings and suggestions were made for how they can be implemented by churches in their interactions with Muslim communities.

FOSTERING A CULTURE OF EVANGELISM AT GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH THAT AFFECTS CONVERSION GROWTH

Author
Philip Schenck D.Min.
Abstract
There are high expectations that a church plant grow by seeing people come to faith in Christ. Such seems to be the expectation placed upon every church plant, as evidenced in literature and conferences and denominational leaders. Experience has not born out what the church anticipated in terms of multiple and regular conversion growth. Academic research, interviews, surveys and focus groups were utilized to understand evangelism and outreach as a whole and as it pertains to the local church that was the focus of this project. Attempt has been made to determine and suggest a response or series of responses that might aid the church in its evangelistic effectiveness. Church members indicated a desire to see the church grow by conversion, but raised concerns about individual preparedness, the need for training, and overcoming fear. Community members raised questions and shared expectations of local churches and church leadership. An overall need for pastoral leadership in the area of evangelism was highlighted. The strategic plan for evangelism and outreach seeks to address the areas of concern and focus that came to light as a result of the research and study, the surveys and interviews undertaken, and conversations with members of church leadership. Is has sought to address needs represented and stated by church and community, leaves opportunity for further study and innovation and invites the involvement of every ministry team and every individual in the church.

Cultivating Relational, Developmental and Missional Discipleship within a Lutheran Mega-Church

Author
Richard Michael Webb D.Min.
Abstract
Over the last two decades, many Lutheran mega-churches have become stagnant or have begun to decline in worship attendance. Some have even closed their doors, not surviving past their founding leadership. Furthermore, few of these mega-churches offer any kind of intentional growth pathway for their members. What is called discipleship often appears instead to be a classroom-driven assimilation process. This project addressed the problem Lutheran mega-churches have in making disciples by exploring the relational, developmental and missional aspects of discipleship and how they might be integrated into an effective discipleship strategy for use in these mega-churches. This project began with an exploration of Jesus and his followers’ approach to discipleship, as found in the books of Matthew, Luke and Acts. This project also included a review of literature focusing on the relational, missional and developmental aspects of discipleship, as well as Lutheran theological reflection on the overall nature of discipleship. Using a case study format, this researcher then investigated and analyzed the discipleship practices of three Lutheran mega-churches through the use of interviews, documentation, and field observations. Synthesizing the findings resulting from the exploration of Scripture, the review of relevant literature and the field study of three Lutheran mega-churches, the researcher developed an integrated relational, developmental and missional mega-church strategy and pathway for Lutheran mega-churches, particularly for Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines, Iowa. This strategy and pathway include program alignment and mentoring strategies, a revised visual developmental pathway for use by church members, and a discipleship assessment and resource navigation tool, designed to equip members with the resources they need along their unique discipleship journey.

"DOCTRINE DIVIDES, SERVICE UNITES": EFFECTIVE THEOLOGICAL METHODS OF INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE FOR ACHIEVING PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE IN MYANMAR CONTEXT

Author
Ar Naing D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis examines a practical application for effective interreligious dialogue in Myanmar. The country exists deeply rooted in religious tension and ethnic conflict. In these unstable times, some of the religious leaders and politicians are barriers to democratic transition and peaceful coexistence. In response, this thesis explores a prophetic witness of social justice in the light of the Praxis Model, a theological method of Professor Stephen B. Bevans. First, the conditions of social-religious-political injustices are examined to explain what led the country into chaos, corruption, and civil war. Then, this thesis proposes using effective, practical methods for moral and social transformation. Rather than promoting interreligious dialogue focused on doctrines that have divided people, this thesis recommends uniting people through involvement in social service activities that create common understanding and mutuality. A just and peaceful society can be created through the cooperation of Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu religious groups by cultivating the practice of prophetic interreligious dialogue.

Language for Effective Preaching: Practical Guide for Fidei Donum Priests in the Belleville Diocese

Author
Urban Chidi Osuji D.Min.
Abstract
ABSTRACT

LANGUAGE FOR EFFECTIVE PREACHING
PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FIDEI DONUM PRIESTS
IN THE BELLEVILLE DIOCESE

Urban Osuji, Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri.

Culture is an inherited conception that has to do with what a person learns from the parents, others, and the society about what it means to be a human being. As a child grows in the society, the child learns the culture’s general assumptions about family relations, relations between men and women, attitude towards life and death. A child learns these assumptions from parents and caregivers. There are other cultural expressions including table manners and the distribution of chores. Of all these inherited conceptions, language is the most symbolic of them all.
Language as an essential part of preaching is the subject of this thesis. The hypothesis is that Fidei Donum Priests can be effective Preachers by attending to the linguistic idioms, imageries, phrases, and sentence construction of the local congregation. The language of preaching is the concrete language of everyday life. Preaching language is the language that the children hear and understand and when they do not understand, their mothers offer a simpler understanding of the language with stories and imageries. Stories and imageries create and leave impressions on the emotional life of the people. When Priests use stories, imageries, and metaphors in preaching, listeners identify God’s presence in their midst. And that is why concrete imageries are the best tools for preaching.
But the use of concrete language in preaching does not come easy to the missionaries. Therefore, Fidei Donum Priests must immerse themselves by taking time to go to the people, live among them, share their lives and learn their language, including imageries, metaphors, and stories that have significant value for them.
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