Spiritual formation

Measuring the Value of Guided Preparation on the Worship Experience at First Baptist Greenville, SC

Author
Matthew Rollins D.Min.
Abstract
Worship is a central part of the life of the church. There exists an understanding that the church will provide a time and space for regular, meaningful worship to occur, as well as an expectation that the people will attend and engage, open to an encounter with God, alongside their brothers and sisters in Christ. This study investigates the latter responsibility - that of the people to fully participate in worship that gives worth to God, listens to God, and responds to God. In this project, volunteers from First Baptist Church Greenville, SC, engaged with specially designed pre-worship guides to measure the value of intentional preparation for worship. The results of the experiment show that preparing for worship does in general lead to more meaningful worship.

Equipping selected parents of East Louisville Baptist Church, Louisville, Mississippi, with essential Christian worldview formation skills

Author
Mason W Joy
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to equip selected parents of East Louisville Baptist Church, Louisville, Mississippi, with essential Christian worldview formation skills. The project director researched the fields of apologetics for youth and children and Christian doctrine to determine essential Christian worldview formation skills. He developed a curriculum in order to equip the selected parents of East Louisville Baptist Church with those essential Christian worldview formation skills. The curriculum was taught in six sessions and corresponds with five doctrines the project director established as most essential for Christian worldview formation. The project director increased his knowledge in the areas of apologetic, Christian worldview formation, and curriculum designs to ensure that the six teaching sessions represented a high standard of quality. Additionally, experts in the fields of apologetics and curriculum design were enlisted to validate the project.

Equipando a los lideres seleccionados de la Iglesia Bautista Cristo Redentor, Mandeville, Louisiana, con las habilidades esenciales de formacion de la cosmovision Cristiana

Author
Victor Humberto Medina
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to equip a group of selected leaders from the Christ the Redeemer Baptist Church, located in Mandeville, Louisiana, with the essential skills for the formation of the Christian worldview. The first part of the project was to investigate the field of a Christian worldview and its impact on discipleship. Subsequently, once the investigation was completed, the project director identified six central doctrines for a Christian worldview essential to move forward to the next step, which consisted in the design of a Christian worldview curriculum that was imparted to the group for six weeks to the selected local church leaders. The training served to educate leaders involved in the discipleship from the Christ the Redeemer Baptist Church.

Equipping selected adults of Chappell Hill Baptist Church, Gilbertown, Alabama to develop a personal spiritual formation map

Author
Timothy Mathis
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to equip selected adults of Chappell Hill Baptist Church, Gilbertown, Alabama, to develop a personal spiritual formation map. The project director used the quipping model to complete this project. The project director started the project by researching the field of spiritual formation in order to identify foundational components. Then he wrote a curriculum he could use to equip selected adults of his church. Finally, in a two-day seminar, he equipped seven adults to develop a personal spiritual formation map.

Over the course of completing his project, the project director increased his knowledge of the foundational components of spiritual formation and increased his skill of curriculum writing. Seven adults were equipped to develop a personal spiritual formation map by completing the seminar.

Developing a Spiritual Growth Strategy for Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, Meridian, Mississippi

Author
Howard Wayne Whitaker
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to develop a spiritual growth strategy for Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, Meridian, Mississippi. The project director conducted an internal audit to produce reports that detailed the involvement of church members in spiritual growth opportunities offered at the church. The director explored the field of discipleship and spiritual growth to determine essential components of effective spiritual growth strategies, producing an annotated bibliography and a research report. A Discipleship Strategy Team was created. The team was composed of certain members from the church’s Strategic Action Team and additional select members from within the church. The project director shared his findings with the team, provided necessary training, and guided them in the development of a strategy for spiritual growth. The strategy was presented to the church’s Strategic Action Team for evaluation and to the church body for approval.

The Sanctified Journey: Labyrinths and Gospel Contemplation in a Wesleyan Context

Author
Matthew R.J. McEwen D.Min.
Abstract
Spiritual formation is the process of following Jesus and how we become like him. Although some view this process as a linear experience, the pattern of a labyrinth is another way to describe this spiritual journey. The image of a labyrinth is not only used as the model of spiritual formation, but is also the metaphor employed throughout a spiritual autobiography and a summary of a ministry research project. Research was conducted at Holt Free Methodist Church and involved a small group that had the opportunity to walk a canvas labyrinth while practicing Gospel contemplation. A narrative methodology was used for interpreting the data that was collected through field notes, the use of a denominational survey, and exit interviews. Just as individuals walk a labyrinth at a unique pace, the same result is seen in the practice of Gospel contemplation. The uniqueness of an individual is a key component to the process of spiritual formation. The outcome of this research project resulted in spiritual growth for the researcher, the participants and the congregation in general.

GUIDELINES FOR MOBILIZING CHINESE BI-VOCATIONAL KINGDOM WORKERS FOR THE NEWLY OPENING BELT ROAD COUNTRIES

Author
R. Strickler D.Min.
Abstract
The project set out to discover guidelines for how to best prepare Chinese bi-vocational Kingdom Workers to work and live missionally wherever God leads them. Of particular interest to the emerging missions candidates from China are Muslim peoples spread throughout the countries aligned with the emerging Belt Road Initiative.

A review of international marketplace ministry and business as mission practices was undertaken. The project research focuses on a sample of existing Chinese-led Business as Mission enterprises. Interviews were conducted with ten different Chinese executives or owners, located in seven different countries, including China proper.

Information on why companies chose to locate in an area and how the leaders were prepared, was elicited. Some correlation was made as to how the Chinese BAM companies conduct their businesses compared to the international BAM movement.

There was convergence between the two streams, and at the same time several distinct issues and opportunities emerged for the preparation of future Chinese workers. Among these are: solid teaching on the theology of work for both candidates and senders; the need for life-on- life discipleship training prior to going out; for those inexperienced in BAM or marketplace ministry, the recommendation for apprenticeship with an existing company prior to being deployed; and, the opportunity for Chinese BAM companies to capitalize on emerging green technologies.

The findings from these interviews provides material that will be used by the writer, his agency, and partners, in the preparation of bi-vocational Kingdom Workers. This will help new appointees they are coaching to live and work most effectively as they answer the call to go to unreached peoples in the newly opened Belt Road countries.

Wesley and Loyola : paths of spiritual formation

Author
Olga Kobzeva
Abstract
This project compares the early Wesleyan and Ignatian spiritual traditions and develops a system of spiritual growth for contemporary seminary students based on these two spiritual traditions. The project utilizes case study methods, direct observations and feedback from participants. It demonstrates how a training course could become a helpful tool in theoretical and practical spiritual preparation of Methodist leaders and revealed the complementary character of the spiritual methods of Loyola and Wesley with the emphasis on a systematic approach to spiritual formation and consciously practiced methods for spiritual growth.

[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.]

Prayer-magic : a theology and practice of using prayer in crisis

Author
Philip David King
Abstract
Prayer used by military chaplains for persons in crisis can be misunderstood as magic. A survey of chaplains was done regarding their experiences, and from the survey a five sermon series on prayer was produced and presented. A group of volunteers then shared a 121 day private prayer pilgrimage experience to develop deeper prayer practice and explore spiritual formation.

[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.]

The Mid-Faith Crisis: Introducing Evangelicals to the Dark Night of the Soul

Author
Thomas Sweeney M.A.
Abstract
The mid-faith crisis is a qualitative shift in our faith experience as God weans us of the spiritual delights lavished upon us in the initial stages of faith and leads us on an inner journey of awareness, repentance, and surrender. This typically occurs in middle age and often in the midst of successful ministry, so it is often misdiagnosed as falling away from faith rather than progressing in faith. Such strong medicine is necessary because it addresses a serious affliction: the false self which has smuggled itself unseen into the Christian life and forms the great obstacle between us and God as well as us and those around us. Through the mid-faith crisis, God invites us to lay aside the false self and its tools for navigating life, accept who we really are, and to grow ever more into our identity as the beloved of the Father. While the mid-faith crisis is divinely initiated and sustained, there is room for human participation in the work.
This research portfolio explores the author’s own mid-faith crisis, proposes a model for the phenomenon and reports the results of an action research project to develop and deliver a curriculum that introduces conservative Evangelicals to the mid-faith crisis. It concludes by identifying further potential development of the model and the curriculum.
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