Preaching

FAITH AND FACEBOOK: EVANGELIZING A RURAL PARISH COMMUNITY IN SOUTHEAST MISSOURI

Author
DOMINIC OKON IBOK D.Min.
Abstract
In Southeast Missouri, where Catholics are a minority, the challenge of diminishing participation and reduced membership requires an intentional engagement of the inactive members and the unaffiliated within the community. Unfortunately, many members of the laity do not have the awareness or skills to evangelize. In a rural community, the challenges seem more significant due to limited personnel and resources. This thesis project aims to equip the laity with the skills and tools to evangelize inactive Catholics and the unaffiliated. It will involve growing in prayer, study, generosity, evangelization, and the discernment of their charisms. With the benefit of social media engagement like Facebook live stream, an opportunity to engage and evangelize is available for our rural parish community. The resources from experienced lay evangelists in evangelization and social media engagement will provide a template that can enhance the development of a program on evangelization for my rural parish community. To test the effectiveness of these resources, seventeen participants engaged in a nine-week program to learn how prayer, study, generosity, evangelization, the discernment of their charisms, and teamwork can prepare them for evangelization. This thesis engaged the inactive Catholics and the unaffiliated in rural Southeast Missouri by using Facebook live stream as an evangelization tool. The focus of this project is thus reminding active Catholics of their responsibility to evangelize and how utilizing a familiar social media portal like Facebook can enhance the process even in a rural community.

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

Author
Stephen Trent Thomas M.Div.
Abstract
Abstract

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.

FORMING NIGERIAN VINCENTIAN PRIESTS TO PREACH IN MULTICULTURAL SETTINGS

Author
Linus Aniekan Umoren C.M. D.Min.
Abstract
Before the Second Vatican Council, it was commonplace to think that the new churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America were pastoral communities. However, following the missiological breakthrough of the Second Vatican Council, the Church of Christ, which is by nature missionary, is fully present in all legitimate local assemblies united with their pastors. Today, Africa, Asia, and Latin America have the largest Christian communities and produce an increasing number of missionaries. Nevertheless, the contemporary global migration and the resulting multicultural societies challenge the priestly formation of these new missionaries.
To confront this contemporary challenge, the Congregation of the mission (The Vincentians), Province of Nigeria realizes the need to develop a formation curriculum that emphasizes the overall human development of the candidates for the priesthood and ensuring that preaching and mission in multicultural settings is a priority.
Therefore, this study undertakes an examination of the current formation curriculum concerning how it promotes the self-awareness of the missionaries and their ability to understand cultural differences. It examines postcolonial theories regarding the self-awareness of priests. Furthermore, it studies narrative preaching to the extent that it benefits multicultural preaching.
Moreover, the research establishes that adequate preparation for multicultural preaching needs a reframing of the Vincentian formation. This process will ultimately link the human formation of the priests to the missiological purpose of preaching in multicultural settings.
Consequently, this study recommends rethinking the formation program and the formation faculty. It provides a framework and practical suggestions for an extended and improved curriculum in forming the Nigerian Vincentian priests.

THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION: A PREACHING PREPARATION TOOL FOR DEACON FORMATION IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF SEATTLE

Author
William W. Eckert D.Min.
Abstract
THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION:
A PREACHING PREPARATION TOOL FOR DEACON FORMATION
IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF SEATTLE

Eckert, William W., MAPS, DMin, Aquinas Institute of Theology, Saint Louis, Missouri, 2021.
Chapter One begins to address an issue with preaching that does not fully integrate the experiences of the community with the Word of God. The chapter covers a brief overview of liturgical preaching, the problem with creating grounded preaching, and the unique qualities of deacons as liturgical preachers in addressing this problem with the guidance of theological reflection.

Chapter Two introduces theological reflection as practical theology and a preaching preparation tool that encourages a dialogue between human experience and Church Traditions (Sacred Scripture, liturgy, beliefs, and teachings).

Chapter Three offers adult education and curriculum development to teach theological reflection as an effective tool of preaching preparation.

Chapter Four explores the current state of preaching within the Archdiocese of Seattle. It includes a summary of conversations with the homiletics and theological reflection instructors in the current deacon formation program. Then, the chapter presents the heart of the project: creating a new unit for the homiletics curriculum in the deacon formation program in collaboration with a small cohort of diocesan deacons.

Chapter Five presents the final version of the new unit for the homiletics program, which was presented to the Archdiocese of Seattle (the Vicar of Clergy, the Director of the Deacon Formation Program, and the homiletics instructor).

Preaching to Develop the Spirit of Generosity: A Serendipitous Journey of Faith

Author
Kay F. Albury D.Min.
Abstract
This project will focus on how preaching can develop a spirit of generosity in the life of the church. The purpose of this project is two-fold: First, the intent is to help a congregation re-examine the challenges that interfere with trusting God’s generous abundance of resources that are available each day. Second, this project will help the congregation discover and then utilize the resources that God provides each day. These resources reflect God’s justice and love. In order to accomplish these two tasks, the project will draw from the richness of biblical scripture, as well as prominent theologians and scholars, to show that preaching is a useful tool that can improve the level of generosity in the church and empower its members to fully live out their mission to extend God’s love and justice to the world.

Celebrative Preaching to Increase Capacity in Service: Every Member a Worker

Author
Andy S. Manzano D.Min.
Abstract
Many pastors and church leaders face the challenge of getting most of the congregants involved in some aspect of ministry. This thesis project focuses on the use of celebrative preaching as a homiletical design to address this challenge. It presents details of the project, the ministry context, the homiletical approach, plans, processes, survey responses, as well as the outcomes that ensued while seeking to resolve this issue. It also explores some of the factors that contribute to this predicament and provides relevant advice on how to address it. It is hoped that the information contained in this thesis can serve as a useful source to all who are interested in rectifying this dilemma.

The Development and Evaluation of a Theological Commentary and Expository Sermon Series on Jonah Implementing Pericopal Theology and a Christiconic Hermeneutic

Author
Josiah D. Boyd D.Min.
Abstract
For the edification of God’s people, biblical preaching is essential (Eph 4:11–16), a divinely-mandated activity which assumes not only Scripture’s explanation but also its application. While much scholarly attention has been paid to the former facet (i.e., the move from text-to-theology), much less has been given to the latter (i.e., the move from theology-to-application). One homiletician, Abraham Kuruvilla, has recently attempted to fill this void by articulating and demonstrating a methodology through which a preacher can, with confidence and clarity, lead the people of God from the Bible to its intended, and thus binding, application. The aim of this research was to explore the effectiveness of his proposed theology and hermeneutic for the identification, development, communication, and reception of biblically-founded, theologically-valid, and hearer-relevant application.

Following the example of Kuruvilla, a theological commentary for preachers was developed for the book of Jonah and a subsequent four-week expository sermon series was preached. In order to assess the effectiveness of the proposed methodology for the developing, communicating, understanding, and applying of a biblical text, a selfadministered pretest and posttest survey was developed and distributed to volunteer participants which focused on both the content and applicational weight of the book. It was hypothesized that by the utilization of pericopal theology, a christiconic hermeneutic, and the subsequent preaching of an expository sermon series, there would be measurable growth in (1) knowledge of the biblical text, (2) understanding of the theology of the biblical text, and (3) discernment of the divine demand placed upon God’s people through the biblical text. The instrument provided quantitative data that was analyzed and evaluated and which, ultimately, verified all three hypotheses affirming that the utilization of pericopal theology and a christiconic hermeneutic demonstrates an associated and significant increase in biblical knowledge, theological understanding, and applicational discernment among the participants.

SACRAMENTAL IMAGINATION: A LUTHERAN APPROACH TO THE ANALOGICAL/DIALECTICAL DIVIDE IN PREACHING

Author
Todd Arthur Peperkorn D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis answers the question of whether there can be a Lutheran sacramental imagination for preaching. It begins with an overview of the history of preaching in The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), especially since the move into English in the 1920s. This history traces how the LCMS has largely adopted the New Homiletic, but has not reflected critically on how its own theological hermeneutic integrates with the New Homiletic, and what relationship this may have to sacramental preaching.

Beginning with definitions of a dialectic imagination and a sacramental/ analogical imagination from David Tracy and Mary Catherine Hilkert, it examines the roots of the sacramental imagination in the works of Edward Schillebeeckx, particularly his early book, Christ the Sacrament of the Encounter with God. It then compares this with the writings of Richard Eslinger, Hans Boersma, and Graham Hughes.

Next the thesis attempts to reconcile a sacramental imagination with a Lutheran hermeneutic. The most successful attempt for this has been in the writing and work of Lutheran Gordon Lathrop. While there are some concerns regarding a dialectic counterbalance, a Lutheran sacramental imagination that takes both the distinction of Law and Gospel and the place of grace begins to emerge.

The ministerial intervention was a seminar for a group of pastors from the LCMS. It involved questionnaires, sermons, and interviews both before and after the seminar. The seminar included modeling sacramental preaching and taught the practice of “Preaching Partners” as a way of connecting the preacher to the the congregation.

It concludes by determining that more work needs to be done on defining a Lutheran sacramental imagination, that Preaching Partners is an excellent method for building both pastoral relationships and in creating a collaborative spirit in preaching, and that Lutherans will benefit from more interaction with non-Lutheran preaching and scholarship.

Preaching the Gospel with their Lives: A Call and Responsibility of Catholic Married Couples

Author
Karen Eileen Seaborn D.Min.
Abstract
Vatican Council II expands the theology of marriage beyond that of procreation and education of children to include bearing witness to Christ in the world. In professing and living their marriage vows, Christian married couples proclaim Christ’s love in word and action—for each other and the church and the world. This study provides the theological foundation for marriage as one of the seven ritualized sacraments in the Catholic Church. It draws on the Christ/church/sacrament model espoused by Vatican II theologians showing Christian husbands and wives to be the efficacious word of God spoken to each other and the church and world. It explores the church's evolving theology of marriage by surveying civil and liturgical rites of marriage from the church’s beginning to present time.
This thesis connects the married couple’s call to bear witness with the church’s preaching mission by attending to Scripture, church teaching, and preachers to show that husbands and wives who faithfully live their marriage vows through the entirety of their lives together, preach the kingdom of God in word and action from the pulpit of their everyday lives. It gathers wisdom from the discipline of marriage and family counseling, attends to practices that assist married couples to be more efficacious preachers of Christ’s love and notes destructive communication patterns that cause them to be countersign of Christ’s love. A description of the ministerial intervention is provided: a day of reflection, formation, and conversation for newly married couples based on the Rite of Marriage. It includes a compilation and analysis of data from three participant questionnaires: pre-workshop, end-of-workshop-day, and thirty days later. The thesis concludes by establishing why this study matters to the church and offers possible next steps for the future of this study.

Prophetic Preaching in the Face of Socioeconomic Crisis as a Justice Instrument in Favor of Women in Puerto Rico

Author
Enid Medina Torres D.Min.
Abstract
La Predicación Profética ante la Crisis Socioeconómica como Instrumento de Justicia para la Mujer en Puerto Rico

This paper presents research on how prophetic preaching can become a justice instrument in favor of women in Puerto Rico facing a significant socioeconomic crisis, with the purpose of it to lead social transformation and liberate women. God has called the Church to raise its voice for all those oppressed by power structures. particularly women, who I consider are the most oppressed. This project can become a significant contribution to prophetic preaching, as it convenes the Church to raise its voice against systemic oppression. Prophetic preaching is presented as an effective tool for a better Puerto Rico here and now. It is by means of prophetic preaching that the Church can become an active agent in fulfilling God’s mission and bringing about His kingdom.
This research followed a qualitative approach, using individual interviews with open-ended questions, as well as a four-sermon series. Six people from the local church participated as part of a focus group who supported the sermon preparation as well as their assessment. Results in this research showed inductive sermonary structures contribute to the process of Church members to not only recognize socioeconomic problems women face on a daily basis, but also to also feel compelled to work against them, guiding them to present concrete ideas in favor of socioeconomic justice for women.
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