Preaching

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.

Preaching and Pastoral Care: Helping a Hurting Church Heal and Move Ministry Forward

Author
Curlee Lamont Adams D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis project focuses on preaching and pastoral care and its ability to help bring healing to a church hurting in the aftermath of issues that originated from previous pastoral leadership. In the black church context, such issues and the resulting hurt experienced by congregations have become almost normative, and the means by which it has been addressed is limited at best. People who have suffered from betrayal, hurt, and loss are often told to “let go and let God.” The perpetuation of this has often taken place from the pulpit, which should be a place from which the good news of Christ’s unending grace is preached. It is the effort of this writer to show through contextual practice how the integration of preaching and pastoral care can help churches overcome hurt in order to move ministry forward.

The Pastoral Pulpit: Preaching to Offer The Assurance of Grace to a First Generation Burmese-Chin Refugee Congregation in the U.S.

Author
Biak Lian Thang D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis project focuses on preaching to offer assurance of grace to the people who are living in the midst of struggle, and to help them see ‘who they are, what they are, and where they are’ as Burmese-Chin refugees in the U.S.A. It is based on the belief that preaching assurance of grace and of God’s saving act in their journey of life to encourage in a foreign land and assures the congregation of God’s presence and care. The thesis project seeks to show that preaching can offer the assurance of grace that helps a congregation experience God’s grace in their lives so that they can reach the community as the faithful witnesses through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, even though they are invisible, insignificant, and minorities in the society.

Prophetic Preaching to Foster Intergenerational Relationships in the Congregation

Author
James Alvin Jamison D.Min.
Abstract
Declining church attendance is a problem, locally and nationally, for many pastors and congregations. This decline is causing many pastors and churches to have concerns about the future survival of their ministries. There are many reasons given by church statisticians and church growth gurus for this decline. One of the problems can be traced to the generational divide that exists in many congregations between the seniors and those of younger age groups. This thesis offers strategies to use prophetic preaching as a tool to bridge the generation gap. The preacher has to be willing to be intentionally intergenerational in their approach to ministry and in the preparation and delivery of sermons. To do so, the preacher must craft sermons that include all generations so that the listening community becomes a church for all generations.

The Voice of the Bridegroom: Preaching as an Expression of Spousal Love

Author
Benjamin Adam Roberts D.Min.
Abstract
The intention of this project is twofold. The first intention is the creation of the nuptial hermeneutic for preaching. The second intention is to offer the nuptial hermeneutic to a group of priests in their second five years of ministry and evaluate it as a source of renewal.

Chapter 1 explores the spousal relationship between husband and wife. Rooted in the nuptial vision of Pope St. John Paul II, it explores anthropology, asymmetrical reciprocity, marital love, the conjugal bond and good of the spouses, fruitfulness and responsible parenthood, and marital spirituality.

Chapter 2 examines the spousal relationship between the priest and the Church. It provides an overview of the ministerial priesthood, a brief biblical examination of Jesus as Bridegroom, the relationship between the royal and ministerial participations in the priesthood of Christ, charity, the sacramental character and bond, fruitfulness, and spirituality.

Chapter 3 proposes preaching as an expression of spousal love. It examines nuptiality as a theological category and presents the seven characteristics of the nuptial hermeneutic for preaching. These characteristics are utilized to explore the assembly, preacher, homily, and homiletical method. The chapter concludes with a strategy for preaching using the nuptial hermeneutic.

Chapter 4 documents the development of the pastoral appropriation for this project. The method of presentation, a podcast series with fourteen episodes, is different from the original one-and-one-half-day workshop project design. This chapter recounts the reasons for modification, reviews the podcast format and presentation design, and offers a preliminary evaluation of this format.

Chapter 5 details results from the project. It describes the participants, presents data collection points, and offers a summary of the results of the pastoral appropriation. Along with some observations, recommendations, and possible areas of future study, this chapter concludes with a positive judgment of the nuptial hermeneutic as a source of renewal.

News That Changes Everything:
Enhancing Believers’ Understanding of the Gospel
At Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, Alabama

Author
Michael Robert Weeks D.Min.
Abstract
Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, Alabama, is a church that has a living, daring confidence in God’s grace through the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a church that is saturated in the Word of God. However, congregation members often have an anemic understanding of what the gospel is, some struggling to understand how it applies to their lives. The praxis director undertook a six-week class, teaching about the gospel and its implications for life. The results demonstrate members of the Cathedral Church of the Advent gained a greater understanding of the gospel and were better able to connect it to their lives.

Promoting the Psalms as prayer through Bible classes and preaching

Author
David H. Petersen
Abstract
The goal of the project was to increase the Redeemer Lutheran Church congregation's knowledge and appreciation of the Psalms and of their use of the Psalms as prayer. Research was conducted on a Lutheran definition of prayer for the Psalms, the use and role of imagination in interpreting the psalms, and on homiletic strategies tailored to the Psalms as prayer. The research method was to take surveys and observation notes throughout an intensive period of Bible classes and sermons and then again at a later date. The results were positive but most pronounced in those for whom the concepts were new.

Take care how you help others listen : sermon listening in an age of distraction

Author
Sebastian Y Kim
Abstract
Preachers are expected to preach engaging sermons, whereas hearers are expected to be passive during preaching. One of the most pernicious challenges of listening to sermons is distraction due to smartphone addiction. The purpose of this study is to examine how adult congregants of a local church engage in sermons amid distractions. The study employed qualitative research methods with fourteen adult congregants using semi-structured interviews analyzed with the constant comparative method. The research explored neurological, psychological and spiritual issues induced by digital technology. This study concluded that the church should be intentional about making disciples by having meaningful conversations with congregants.

The Proclamational Leader A Seminar for Working Pastors

Author
John Currie
Abstract
This project proposes that a substantial cause of ineffectual preaching stems from the failure to integrate the essential pastoral functions of preaching and leadership in pastoral practice. The project seeks to address the problem by presenting a seminar that equips pastors to integrate best practices in preaching and leadership. To ascertain these practices the author studied the biblical and theological foundations of preaching and leadership and historic and contemporary voices in the tradition of Reformed Presbyterianism and Westminster Theological Seminary. The results of the study are presented as perspectives essential to the preacher-leader's identity and best practices in both preaching and leadership.

Missional preaching: the role and work to mobilize a church to a place of missional engagement

Author
Charles B Kuthe
Abstract
Mission Preaching serves as a philosophy that governs an approach to church health. The basis for the research project was to both qualitatively and quantitatively discover if preaching has a measurable impact on a congregation's engagement in missions. The researcher conducted a presurvey and two postsurveys in conjunction with an eight week preaching series on "God's Heart for the World" to identify the impact of preaching on the church's existing involvement in missions. The conclusion showed a substantial increase in missional engagement after the sermon series was completed.
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