Non-church-affiliated people

Are we there? : journeys of faith and the role of racialized trauma in individuals who identify as religiously unaffiliated

Author
Richelle Foreman Gunter
Abstract
This project explores the intersections of racialized trauma and faith development in individuals who have sometime during their life identified as religiously unaffiliated or “nones.” Through the lens of life stories, nine individuals describe their faith journeys from their earliest memories of life to their most recent adult experiences. Their courageous sharing sheds light on the connections between racism and racialized trauma and the precious moments when faith in God moved them forward on their journey of faith. Their stories highlight the experience of 250 plus years historical trauma from slavery and its intergenerational influence, alongside the instances of racism members of the black community continued to experience. The stories that they shared also help us to understand that God inserts himself into the lives of His people in ways that are unexpected, not written about or understood. Like life, faith development is a journey not a destination.

Seeker sensitive worship in a Reformed context

Author
Burt C Twomey
Abstract
This project is designed to assist local pastors and worship teams who desire to become more seeker sensitive in worship. Though it is written with a particular bent toward Reformed worship, it is designed to bring theological reflection and practical ideas for existing mainline Protestant churches who desire renewal in worship without forsaking their unique history. The project grows out of the experiences of a local congregation, Faith Reformed Church, Traverse City, Ml., over a five year period.

This project shows that it is possible for existing congregations to become more seeker-sensitive in worship through an approach that blends their own traditions with more open, expressive forms of worship. Seeker-sensitive worship, when done with integrity, can edify the believer while also attracting seekers to faith in Christ.

ACTING JUSTLY: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RELIGION AND SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR STUDENTS AT LAFAYETTE COLLEGE

Author
Alexandra M Hendrickson D.Min.
Abstract
Many students experience a disconnect between religious practice and social justice, even though social justice is a core value. Showing the connections between religion and social justice encourages these students to have a positive understanding of religion.

What effect will a six-week, small group on social justice in the Abrahamic traditions, have on their understanding and appreciation of religion as central to their ongoing formation?

The group of students I worked with experienced a strong connection between religion and social justice. After participating in the Religion and Social Justice small group, they hold positive, engaging, and holistic understandings of faith.

Held together and sent out in grace : the interplay between prevenient grace and evangelism

Author
Kent A. Lundy
Abstract
Nationally, the average United Methodist invites one person to Church every 38 years (www.um-insight.net)! In what way can we leverage our understanding of Prevenient Grace to increase the number of invitations the congregants of Churubusco UMC extend to others? The author researched how differing emphasis of invitations helped persons invite others to church. Individuals were placed into small groups for this study period. The analysis suggested that a full understanding of Prevenient Grace is best expressed within small group accountability.

[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.]

Saints and poets in conversation : metanarrative in theater and in life

Author
Donald P Johnson
Abstract
This study explored how religiously unaffiliated persons ("nones") interpret the metanarrative of a film. Four questions guided the research: How do nones interpret Saving Mr. Banks? How do nones compare and contrast its metanarrative with their personal narratives? How are nones' lives affected by these narratives? In what ways do nones' experiences compare and contrast with biblical themes of creation, fall, redemption, and new creation? This study found that the film's themes gave moral coherence to the participants' lives; its narratives connected with participants' lives; and the participants' stories affirmed meaning in life, relational healing, and hopefulness toward the future.

Holy Spirit gift activation, mentoring and leadership training to increase church attendance and godly commitment in emerging adults

Author
Nina M Thompson
Abstract
In 2000, research showed that nearly one-quarter of people ages 18-29 described their religion as "none." Since 2005, the unchurched segment among this age group increased from 44% to 52%. The project sought to demonstrate that activating spiritual gifts in young adults, complemented by mentoring and training, increases their church attendance and commitment to God. Research methodologies included cognitive interviews, pre and post surveys, structured observations, leadership development, written testimonials and participation in church activities. Hypothesis testing measured attitudinal changes related to awareness, actions, perception and reasoning. The 24-month research project demonstrated an increase in church participation and commitment to God, and a desire to learn more about things related to God, by the participants.

Feed my lambs: transformation through living into the biblical imperatives of poverty alleviation

Author
Scott M Harding
Abstract
This thesis-project is a case study of the fellowship dinner ministry of the Church of the Messiah in Glens Falls, NY. In the spring of 2005 the congregation began a journey to transition from serving a Sunday afternoon community meal into creating a Sunday evening ministry, which involved: serving dinners to the community, creating a worship service targeted to the un-churched, and increasing the present food pantry. This project traces the path of this transition through the formation of leadership teams and evaluates the ministry and the parish in the present.

Developing a strategy to reach unchurched senior adults through the churches of the Suncoast Baptist Association, Pinellas County, Florida

Author
Ervin L McWilson
Abstract
The purpose of the project was to develop a strategy to reach unchurched senior adults through the churches of the Suncoast Baptist Association, Pinellas County, Florida. The project director approached the project utilizing a Strategy Planning Model. With the support of a strategy planning team, an evangelistic outreach strategy emerged for the purpose of reaching unchurched senior adults in Pinellas County, Florida. The strategy planning team met once a week for four weeks. The strategy planning team examined the research made available for the purpose of developing a comprehensive strategy for the association. The project director assisted the strategy planning team in understanding the basic components of a strategy. He also guided the strategy planning team in completing a workable strategy for the association. The project director presented the strategy for approval during an executive board meeting of the Suncoast Baptist Association.

Theology of ethical leadership toward a project to discover why African-Americans age 18-50 do not attend the African-American Baptist churches in Syracuse, NY

Author
Richard Wayne Hill
Abstract
This project discovered why African-Americans age 18-50 do not attend African-American Baptist churches in Syracuse, New York. using a Likert scale questionnaire, the project collected data from persons who are not members of an African-American Baptist church and who evaluated this project. The data confirmed that people do not attend because preachers appear to be seeking emotional responses during preaching, members are not friendly and welcoming, leadership caters to a particular group, and the extreme concern with collecting money. Some participants were unsure how sexually inappropriate relationships and sermon irrelevance impacted the decision not to attend.

"What happened?" and "What now?": exploring how Reformed pastors minister to the parents of apostate emerging adults

Author
Joost Nixon
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how Reformed pastors minister to the parents of prodigal emerging adult children. This study focused on three key areas that affect how pastors minister to the parents of apostate emerging adults: the religious lives of emerging adults, biblical and theological concerns regarding baptism, apostasy, and covenantal status of children, and policies churches have employed to minister to apostate young adults and their parents. This study utilized a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with Reformed pastors in the Northwestern United States. This study found that parents have a strong shaping influence on their children's religious faith, and that prevention through consistent reinforcement of covenantal indicatives and parental example is critical, and that redemptive solutions to apostate emerging adults must embrace the entire church community.
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