Mission of the church

Focusing the local congregation on missional discipleship as a means of congregational renewal

Author
Joseph Jathaniel Cavitt
Abstract
How can the vitality of Colonial Park United Methodist Church be impacted by a central focus on a practical theology of missional discipleship as it is implemented in the life of the church? The author’s project focused on a practical theology of missional discipleship during the first eighteen months of his pastoral appointment working to develop spiritual leadership and missionally reorienting this congregation. Through listening sessions, classes, training, and organizational restructuring processes, the congregation has grown in mission and has shown statistical growth indicating a beginning of a turnaround.

[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.]

Exploring the DNA of Oxon Hill United Methodist Church : and its impact on the church's ability to live a missional existence

Author
Patricia Allen
Abstract
The author explored the relational impact of local community and church history on the congregation, the decision making processes of the church, and the possibility of reimagining and repurposing these influences for the manifestation of biblical community. The author conducted a book review, facilitated a spiritual gifts inventory, led a bible study, and engaged a pastoral leadership assessment tool to assess the ability of the church to identify historical influences and potential opportunities for new understanding. The analysis of the responses gleaned from these experiences is the church's deeply entrenched understanding of community cannot easily be reimagined for different results.

[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 of Hospitality in the Parables of Jesus: Inspiring a Congregation to Transform Its Ways of Loving and Serving Neighbors"

Author
Joan Warren Gandy D.Min.
Abstract
This project proposes that lessons of hospitality in the parables of Jesus can inspire a congregation to transform its ways of loving and serving neighbors. The congregation took part in an eight-week study with multiple opportunities to engage the parables each week. Research methods included ethnographic practices of listening, observing, and reading historical documents; written surveys to gauge how participants viewed congregational hospitality and service to neighbors before and after the study; and practical theological methods such as reflection/action and the four tasks of practical theological interpretation. The research discloses the power of parables to stir hearts for neighborhood mission.

EXPOUNDING ROMANS 6-8 TO ADVANCE GREAT COMMISSION OBEDIENCE IN THE LEADERSHIP AT MAYFIELD MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH, FORT WORTH, TEXAS

Author
Larry Hall D.Min.
Abstract
The writer is the pastor of a Missionary Baptist congregation. In a self-appraisal survey, congregational leaders ranked Great Commission obedience low among ministry priorities. This project investigated the question: Can a pastoral approach in expounding Romans 6-8 be effective in developing a Great Commission theology and in advancing Great Commission obedience for select leaders at Mayfield Missionary Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas. The project pursues two goals: 1) to develop the theology of the participants and 2) to develop pastoral preaching effectiveness.
The research design combined both the qualitative and quantitative method. The writer designed seven sermons from Romans 6-8 in a series entitled Gospel Assurance, a Motivation to Great Commission Obedience. The writer expounded selected doctrinal themes from the Biblical text to develop elements of a Great Commission theology in the participants. Using a pastoral approach, the writer selected eight congregational leaders to participate in a small group to give feedback on the preaching effectiveness. In addition, the participants completed a pre and post project questionnaire to indicate theological understanding, opinion surveys, and interviews. The writer assessed the participants’ awareness, attitudes and actions in relation to the Matthew 28:18-20 mandate to make disciples.
The writer diagnosed the participants’ gain in theological understanding and simultaneously increased pastoral preaching effectiveness through small group feedback. The writer and participants advanced toward Great Commission obedience.

Narratives Church: A Missional Church Planting Path for Cultivating a Unified Theological Vision

Author
Mark Miller D.Min.
Abstract
This research project focused on the development of a unified theological vision for the missional movement. The researcher conducted a thorough investigation of Scripture and current biblical material in order to discern the barriers existing within the missional movement. The researcher looked at key areas that shape the missional church planting movement: leadership development, theological interpretation of the early church, church planting methods and practice, ecclesiology, and the application and interpretation of Ephesians 4:11. Four church planting organizations participated: North American Mission Board, Acts 29 Network, Association of Related Churches, and Converge Worldwide. A questionnaire given to each movement revealed that there is indeed a disconnect from one movement to the next in terms of areas mentioned above.

Mission Strategy of Chinese Urban House Churches

Author
Yunhong Xuan D.Min.
Abstract
This paper introduces the theory of ecosystem into missiology for the first time, and it puts forward the theory of mission ecosystem. The so-called theory of mission ecosystem refers to the healthy interaction among mission-driven church, mission-driven leaders, mission-driven disciples, missionaries, and mission strategies which form a system in world missions, thus establishing a complete mission ecosystem.
This paper emphasizes that God is the source of power in the entire mission ecosystem. Just as the energy of the natural ecosystem comes from the sun, the energy of the mission ecosystem comes from God. Missionary God is the core of mission, the driving force of mission, and the essence of mission. Missionary God is like the engine of the mission ministry. Only God-centered missions can receive a constant supply of missionary power.
This paper emphasizes that in the engineering of the mission ecosystem, the establishment of the mission-driven church, the cultivation of mission-driven leaders, the training of mission-driven disciples, the dispatching of mission-driven missionaries and the formulation of mission-driven strategy form a complete mission bio-chain. When the influence and interaction between them achieve a dynamic equilibrium, it enables effective world mission.
This paper provides strategies for establishing mission-driven church, cultivating mission-driven leaders, training mission-driven disciples, dispatching mission-driven missionaries and formulating mission-driven strategies.
Key Words: Mission Strategy, Missionary God, Missional Church, Missional Leader, Missional Discipleship, Missionary.

Preaching APEST: Observing a sermon series, based on Ephesians 4, as a means of beginning to plant a vision in a local congregation

Author
David Taylor Averill D.Min.
Abstract
A prior study of a congregation in Winter Haven, Florida revealed an overlap in perceived, ideal qualities of clergy and lay leaders of the church. However, these qualities were limited to exclusively shepherding and teaching roles. Through preaching a 5-week sermon series, this project began to shape a vision of shared ministry and leadership in this local church among clergy and laity alike. The series used the APEST model of Ephesians 4, taken from the missional hermeneutic of Alan Hirsch. The project assessed the emergence of an inchoate understanding of the missional imperative through ethnographic data, gathered in a sermon roundtable, and surveys collected congregationally.

Being The Church For Others: Ethnographic Practice as Public Witness

Author
Brian Stephen Janssen D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to explore the place of listening within the practice of being the church in a rapidly changing suburban context. To do this, the use of ethnographic practices, particularly in-depth interviews, were used to demonstrate that listening is a way to show the community, in which the church is a guest, that it is loved. The church encounters people who are moving into the neighborhood in a variety of ways. As people move here, they add gifts, talents, and resources to the community. It is incumbent upon the church to demonstrate a willingness to be welcomed into this new context which is emerging

Developing a Regional Understanding of Church Growth of Chinese Churches in the U.S. and a Plan for Disciple-Making Based Church Growth at a Local Chinese Church

Author
Fong-Yuen Ding D.Min.
Abstract
A DMin major paper effort was made to understand church growth of Chinese churches in the U.S. It is suggested that church growth should be considered along with other biblical goals, and the principles of church growth should be considered as reminder for our being faithful. The dynamics of church growth were stated as a guide for faithfulness. A survey among four Chinese churches in the U.S. east coast region was conducted, and another in a local Chinese church in Knoxville among its attendees was also conduct. A strategic plan for disciple-making based church growth plan was developed.

Vocation as a Focus for Mission Effectiveness with Mid-Level Leaders at a Catholic University

Author
Mark J. Laboe D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project proposes that the work of Catholic mission effectiveness at a large, diverse Catholic university in the United States can be enriched through a rediscovery and re-founding of the theological notion of vocation, which can serve as a distinguishing contribution of Catholic education in an increasingly pluralistic society. Furthermore, focusing attention on the important role and vocation of mid-level leaders, who often hold a significant influence on organizational culture, can be a strategic focus for the work of advancing a culture of vocation as well as sustaining the institution's founding charism and mission in the face of the diminishing influence of the sponsoring religious community.
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