Spiritual exercises

Nature as a Means of Adolescent Spiritual Formation

Author
James D Thompson D.Min.
Abstract
The author researched what effect a ninety-day practice of journaling and guided contemplation of God in nature would have on an adolescent's sense of connection with God using the Convergent Parallel Mixed Method approach. Quantitatively, the intervention led to a statistically significant increase from the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale pretest to the posttest. Qualitatively, through student journals and reflections, five clusters of meaning emerged: the adolescent landscape, deeper connection with God, big questions, gratitude, and common nature. If God intends creation to point people to himself, then it is a significant problem if people have lost the capacity or the desire to pay attention to creation.

The Abide Project's Effect on Experiencing God's Presence in Daily LIfe

Author
Dean Wertz D.Min.
Abstract
The thesis seeks to answer: How will a three-month all-church focus on abiding in Jesus affect the participants' experience of God's presence in their daily lives? The Abide Project was facilitated in the fall of 2018 for children, youth and adults at Hope Community Church (Denver, CO0; included sermons, small groups and daily reminders; and was measured by mixed-methods. The quantitative assessment (compared pre and post-training scores from the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale by Dr. Lynn Underwood) and the qualitative assessment (8 phenomenological interviews) concluded that the project increased the participants' experience of God's presence in their daily lives. An invitation to abide from John 15:1-11 would increase the participant' attentiveness and experience God.

Embodied Contemplative Practices Within a High School Religion Curriculm

Author
Diane Mercadante D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project explores whether affective, embodied contemplative practices enhance cognitive learning in a Catholic high school religion classroom and encourage behavioral changes in students’ lives. The researcher introduced embodied contemplative practices to high school seniors using the lens of Appreciative Inquiry and Osmer’s four questions for practical theological interpretation, then offering students an opportunity to find meaning in their experiences using the Killen and de Beer theological reflection method. This thesis-project enters into a conversation with student experience, Gen-Z culture, and the Christian theological tradition to name the importance of embodied connection, affirm the practice of embodied Christian theology, and address the desire and need for embodied contemplative practices.

The Wisdom of Silence: Contemplative Practice for Adolescents in the Context of a Catholic Secondary School Curriculum

Author
Jan Rudolf Flaska D.Min.
Abstract
Let’s face it - contemporary adolescent life in the United States is filled with noise. Amidst the metaphorical and literal din of increasingly covert wireless technology, the heavy demand of social media and a cultural espousal of multitasking, the adolescent spirit can be a forgotten concern. There is, therefore, a need to reclaim the wisdom of silence in the lives of adolescents, inviting them to welcome these moments for the power they offer, and to embrace the call of Teresa of Avila in “turning the eyes of the soul… to the Lord.”

This project is intended to introduce and nurture contemplative practices, as presented in Christian literary spiritual classics, in the lives of adolescents in scholastic Catholic settings.
Offered in response to the frequent, unregulated noise of technology manifest in phones and other platforms for social media, adolescents will benefit in a multiplicity of manners from a regular encounter with spiritually grounded silence.

Laying a Foundation for Nurturing Experiential Communion with the Word of God for Soul Formation through Journaling and Inner Circle Relationships.

Author
Jeffrey William Roy Rev. D.Min.
Abstract
In this research portfolio, three projects form the basis in developing this new pathway to nurture formation. The author’s spiritual autobiography recounts his journey into two-way communion with the Word of God and gives readers opportunities to reflect accordingly. The AESA model (Awareness, Encounter, Surrender, Abide) is presented as a cyclical four-step process designed to help nurture experiential union and spiritual formation. This model incorporates the authors’ own experience, an analysis of how the Word of God is depicted by the Scriptures and in the writings of the Early Church Fathers, four existing contemplative models of formation, and the experiences of those who participated in his research project. The project tested follow up material designed to help people take home and form habits (Contemplative Prayer Journaling and Inner Circle Relationships) that would help them experience union with the Eternal Word of God throughout their day. The project found that these spiritual disciplines can be helpful in nurturing experience union with the Eternal Word of God throughout their day. Two months after the study twelve of the sixteen participants were journaling once a week and nine of the sixteen participants had established some form of weekly inner circle relationship with the desire to be more aware of God’s presence.

Developing Christlike Disciples with the Fourfold Spiritual Journey Model at Westwood Alliance Church

Author
Wai Fung Chow D.Min.
Abstract
In this research portfolio, the author explores spiritual formation as a deeper life journey to imitate Jesus Christ. The key question the research addressed is how Jesus’ followers in Westwood Alliance Church (hereafter called WAC) can walk into a deeper life journey with Jesus Christ. Four aspects of Jesus’ life on earth have been identified for the sake of living out the life modelled by Jesus Christ (Discipline, Surrender, Testimony, and Community). The author examined the question through four separate yet related dimensions: (i) the author’s spiritual autobiography into the Life of Discipline, in which the author confirmed his vocational calling from God; (ii) the process of recovering from grief into the Life of Surrender, in which the author realized the valuable transformation in his life after his wife’s passing; (iii) the Fourfold Spiritual Journey model into the Life of Testimony, in which the author tried to formulate a deeper life practice in WAC; (iv) and the field research project into the Life of Community, in which the author practised early morning prayer with a small group of people. The conclusion is that walking a spiritual journey with Jesus Christ in WAC is practical and achievable through practising spiritual disciplines to achieve the awareness of God’s presence in one’s daily life, abiding in Christ to achieve a lifestyle of surrender, sharing one’s testimony to equip other disciples, and reaching out the community of faith to serve one another.

Equipping the Worship Leadership Team of Northpark Baptist Church, Trussville, Alabama in selected spiritual disciplines

Author
Charles W Martin
Abstract
This project utilized information from reserach in the field of spiritual disciplines for the development and leading of a weekend experience to equip the Worship Leadership team at Northpark Baptist Church for the practice of selected disciplines. The curriculum for the weekend highlighted five disciplines that would be most useful for worship leaders: worship, Bible intake, prayer, solitude and silence, and service. The project director used various learning methods to train these worship leaders in the five disciplines. During the five sessions of the equipping workshop, the worship leaders practiced the spiritual disciplines. Through the practice of these disciplines, the selected worship leaders learned how to experience the presence of God.

How Fostering Spiritual Practice Builds Spiritual Confidence

Author
Cynthia Byers Walter
Abstract
This paper explains how fostering spiritual practice builds spiritual confidence. To address pervading local and cultural anxiety, the author provided congregational leaders with a set of workbooks designed to develop spiritual vocabulary and nurture spiritual growth. Based on the nature of spirituality, spiritual gifts, the theology of baptism and the kingdom of God, and supported by educational, faith development and neuroscientific theory, the project demonstrated how guided spiritual exercises combined with group support provided congregational leaders with needed confidence for speaking meaningfully about their prayer lives, growing spiritually, and sharing with others about their faith.

A training manuel on pastoral character formation based on 2 Timothy 1-2

Author
Shu Mei Pan
Abstract
The emphasis of this dissertation is on pastoral character formation with a focus on the pastoral needs of the Evangelical Formosan Church in Taiwan. This is based on Paul's advise to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1-2. We have incorporated the spiritual exercises of Ignatius in From the standpoint of Spiritual Theology, this dissertation will probe into spiritual exercises inherited from the traditions in church history. Integrating the discoveries above, 12 characteristics are selected, based on Paul's exhortations for pastors. With precise evaluations and prayers, this leads to 12 training courses toward a holistic Pastoral Character Formation.

Clean your plate: a Christian treatise for healthy living

Author
Krystal Sears
Abstract
This applied research project develops, examines and determines a link between Christian spirituality and a healthy lifestyle. This is a comprehensive approach to reducing and eliminating obesity and food diseases in Christians through fasting, eating well, and exercise. The research method utilized for this project was a 31 day program that increased the spiritual growth of the thirty-six people in the areas of intellectual capacity about food, convictions, and conduct in a verifiable manner that is statistically significant. The research reveals that through spirituality and commitment that the participants are able to eliminate or mitigate the harms associated with food related diseases.
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