Spiritual formation

Christ-Centered Leadership: The Formation of Millennials

Author
Sean Wood D.Min.
Abstract
The problem this project addressed is the perceived lack of Christocentric leadership development among millennials of Canadian churches with over one thousand people in attendance. In response to this problem the researcher explored Christ-centered leadership formation and discipleship in the New Testament and early church. The literature reviewed related to the uniqueness of millennials as it connects to leadership development. The researcher interviewed two Senior Pastors who are considered highly influential with the millennial cohort. These two leaders have both led effective church congregations in Canada during their respective twenty-plus year tenure serving the same churches. Millennial leaders who are actively serving in roles of influence within these two churches also participated in this project. Fourteen were personally interviewed from the thirty-seven who completed an online survey. Three millennial cohort specialists were also interviewed. One is a respected Canadian sociologist, one is a counselor, author, corporate coach and Canadian media personality, and the third leads Canada’s premier sports camp and retreat center. Canada is an increasingly secularized country in which emerging generations are struggling to be rooted in Christ and effective in discipling and serving those within their sphere of influence. Through the analysis of the results of this project, and leaning on the research discovered, the researcher developed and presents seven principles in Christ-centered leadership for millennials living in Canada.

Cultivating Relational, Developmental and Missional Discipleship within a Lutheran Mega-Church

Author
Richard Michael Webb D.Min.
Abstract
Over the last two decades, many Lutheran mega-churches have become stagnant or have begun to decline in worship attendance. Some have even closed their doors, not surviving past their founding leadership. Furthermore, few of these mega-churches offer any kind of intentional growth pathway for their members. What is called discipleship often appears instead to be a classroom-driven assimilation process. This project addressed the problem Lutheran mega-churches have in making disciples by exploring the relational, developmental and missional aspects of discipleship and how they might be integrated into an effective discipleship strategy for use in these mega-churches. This project began with an exploration of Jesus and his followers’ approach to discipleship, as found in the books of Matthew, Luke and Acts. This project also included a review of literature focusing on the relational, missional and developmental aspects of discipleship, as well as Lutheran theological reflection on the overall nature of discipleship. Using a case study format, this researcher then investigated and analyzed the discipleship practices of three Lutheran mega-churches through the use of interviews, documentation, and field observations. Synthesizing the findings resulting from the exploration of Scripture, the review of relevant literature and the field study of three Lutheran mega-churches, the researcher developed an integrated relational, developmental and missional mega-church strategy and pathway for Lutheran mega-churches, particularly for Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines, Iowa. This strategy and pathway include program alignment and mentoring strategies, a revised visual developmental pathway for use by church members, and a discipleship assessment and resource navigation tool, designed to equip members with the resources they need along their unique discipleship journey.

The Art of "Naming Grace." Nurturing everyday mysticism in the life of the contemporary Christian.

Author
Gerardine Ann Doherty Sr D.Min.
Abstract
Is the Holy Spirit alive among God’s people today? Does the Catholic Church recognize the potential of such a reality? Do ministers nurture, encourage, uphold this gift of God’s extravagance ~ grace operative and dynamic in each member?
The core of this thesis-project explores the ‘instinctive hunch’ that God’s Spirit is present and moving among God’s people, be it often yearning recognition, deliverance and liberation. The potential for all the baptized to fully embrace their already-God-given giftedness, is something not yet fully conceived.
By briefly presenting the experience of mysticism through historical interpretation, acknowledging contemporary spiritual authors and gathering current spiritual experience of ‘ordinary’ people, the stage is set to introduce Karl Rahner’s notion of everyday mysticism. Then, convinced of the extravagance of God, a final question is surveyed: Should existing theological, spiritual and psychological ministerial assumptions be challenged, in order for the fullness of Vatican II’s “universal call to holiness” to be a reality?

The Art of "Naming Grace." Nurturing everyday mysticism in the life of the contemporary Christian.

Author
Gerardine Ann Doherty Sr M.A.
Abstract
Is the Holy Spirit alive among God’s people today? Does the Catholic Church recognize the potential of such a reality? Do ministers nurture, encourage, uphold this gift of God’s extravagance ~ grace operative and dynamic in each member?
The core of this thesis-project explores the ‘instinctive hunch’ that God’s Spirit is present and moving among God’s people, be it often yearning recognition, deliverance and liberation. The potential for all the baptized to fully embrace their already-God-given giftedness, is something not yet fully conceived.
By briefly presenting the experience of mysticism through historical interpretation, acknowledging contemporary spiritual authors and gathering current spiritual experience of ‘ordinary’ people, the stage is set to introduce Karl Rahner’s notion of everyday mysticism. Then, convinced of the extravagance of God, a final question is surveyed: Should existing theological, spiritual and psychological ministerial assumptions be challenged, in order for the fullness of Vatican II’s “universal call to holiness” to be a reality?

The Knowledge of God and the Knowledge of Self: Exploring Spiritual Formation via Discernment and the MBTI

Author
Christopher Andrew Walker D.Min.
Abstract
In this Research Portfolio, the author explores spiritual formation through growing in the knowledge of God and in the knowledge of self. The specific avenue for exploring growing in the knowledge of God is discernment, and the specific avenue for exploring growing in the knowledge of self is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®. The Spiritual Autobiography tells the story of the author’s personal journey of spiritual formation through the various revelations about God and self that the Lord has brought to his life. The Model of Spiritual Formation theorizes that growing in the knowledge of self can help us to hear from and know God better through discernment, thus aiding in our spiritual formation. The Research Project tested one aspect of the Model with a small group of congregants from Meadow Brook Church in Leamington, ON, and demonstrated an effective process of discernment for the participants. The conclusion of this Research Portfolio is that growing in the knowledge of self can help us to grow in the knowledge of God, which will aid us in our spiritual formation.

An Integrative Model of Spiritual Formation:
Incorporating Practices from Christian Spirituality and Psychotherapy

Author
Kern Orbin Stanberry D.Min.
Abstract
This portfolio represents an integrative approach to Christian spiritual formation that refutes the modern Western dualistic mindset. It reclaims the premodern understanding of the unity of truth as revealed through Scripture and creation and, as such, calls for the engagement of practices from both Christian spiritualty and psychotherapy in the process of Christian spiritual formation. Through a rigorous process of personal, spiritual, professional, academic and field research explorations and reflections, the author presents an integrative Christian spiritual formation model and invites Christian leaders and researchers to intentionally include the subjective realities of people’s experiences in their spiritual formational journey.

Deep Roots in Christ: An Exploration of Spiritual Formation Through Habits in College Ministry

Author
John L Miller IV D.Min.
Abstract
In this Research Portfolio, the author examines the role of habits and rituals in spiritual formation. The specific focus of the work is on the potential impact of ancient spiritual practices in the lives of contemporary students at an undergraduate institution. The author presents this topic through three primary movements. First, the author explores aspects of his personal spiritual journey through an autobiographical chapter. These reflections introduce the author’s call to ministry and share some foundational thoughts on spiritual formation as both key turning points and habits that ignite and sustain such experiences. Second, the author develops an organic framework for spiritual formation through habits focused on the image of a healthy tree. The model builds upon John Wesley’s Means of Grace and James K.A. Smith’s work on habits. Finally, the author reports on a research project where he invites current undergraduate students at Houghton College to participate in the practice of Lectio Divina to better understand the potential impact of habits on spiritual formation with contemporary college students. The research suggests that habits and ancient spiritual practices are indeed reliable pathways to experiencing God’s love for the contemporary undergraduate student.

Transformation: How God's Ongoing Work through Preaching Can Impact a Congregation.

Author
Paul McIlwraith
Abstract
ABSTRACT
This portfolio describes the way that God's transforming work in the life of a preacher can impact a congregation. It focuses specifically on a preacher's life, context, and congregation and God's work in each of these areas.
Chapter 1 serves as the introduction to this portfolio. Chapter 2 offers My Personal Preaching Identity, which describes my own identity and transformation as a preacher, my sense of call, spiritual gifting, and theological tradition. It contains my theology of preaching, which has been informed by my personal experiences as well as course work, readings, and mentors drawn from church history. Chapter 3, My Preaching Context, describes the congregation I serve, North Park Community Church, as well as the broader community setting and city. This background was used to propose a preaching strategy and a yearly preaching menu that would meaningfully and appropriately address this unique congregation. My Preaching Field Project, found in chapter 4, is a personalized preaching project implemented in my home church to determine the impact that the preaching is having on the spiritual transformation of a certain demographic of our church. The results identified a transformative impact on this demographic but also revealed some important learnings for preachers about the content and delivery of the sermon. Chapter 5, the conclusion, summarizes the content of this portfolio and describes the way in which I have accomplished the four outcomes of the Doctor of Ministry program.

EVALUATION OF A TEACHER TRAINING WORKSHOP FOR BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW EDUCATION AND TRANSFORMATION

Author
Rhonda Kaye Kamakawiwoole D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
Given the world’s plurality of worldviews, transformation to the biblical worldview—God’s understanding of reality—remains the paramount task of Christian parents and the church in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Christian parents are to impress God's commands on their children so the next generation might come to know, love, and serve Him (Deut 6:6-7). Jesus charges the church to make disciples, baptize, and teach others to obey his commands (Matt 28:19-20), yet, spiritual formation is not the target it should be for most Christian families and the American church. The literature reveals a general lack in understanding of the biblical worldview in Christians across generations, and thus, believers lack confidence and motivation to share God’s worldview with others.
This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of a workshop designed to address transformation in the comprehension, commitment, and intended conduct of participants to train others to the biblical worldview. Statistical analysis revealed participants changed in understanding, confidence, and motivation toward engaging in further growth to the biblical worldview and training others to it. Anecdotal information gathered from comments on the post-training survey provided additional evidence of the above, as well as qualitative evidence demonstrating participants changed in their commitment to share God’s truth with others and planned for future change in this “commissioned” area for Christ.
The workshop effectively addressed the lack of intentionality about growing in and sharing the biblical worldview with others. The study showed adult Christians of all ages are more likely to engage in sharing the biblical worldview with others once they better understand the distinctives of the biblical worldview, gain confidence in their knowledge and abilities and are motivated to share it, and are equipped with models for training others to the biblical worldview.

The Effect of a Rule of Life on the Symptoms of Acedia at Church of the Epiphany

Author
Stacey Timothy Tafoya D.Min.
Abstract
The question that arises is how spiritual communities can be affected by the many
distractions of the modern world. Churches are not immune to the lack of “the ability
simply to be alone with our thoughts.” In fact, it would seem that the church, whose text
is the Bible, must go further to break through the endless distractions of the day to hear
the voice of God in the scriptures.
the church began a journey with international refugees when
twenty-five children and adults from the nation of Burundi came to church on a Labor
Day weekend. This started a mini-influx of folks from various parts of the world. The
church has discovered a new sense of purpose and excitement as there are folks present in
worship from five continents. The worship of Epiphany is also both ancient and future,
focusing on the best of classical hymnology and contemporary worship within the
worship of the Book of Common Prayer. In addition, there is also an emphasis on the
Bible as the pastor and the church seek to be Christ-centered and evangelical as well as
sacramental.
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