Spiritual formation

An Experience in Small Group Spiritual Direction at McGuire United Methodist Church

Author
Cynthia Frances Johnson Hooton D.Min.
Abstract
This research project studied the benefit of developing a Christian formation process at McGuire United Methodist Church in Monroe, Louisiana, focused on developing intimacy with God and the community of faith through small group spiritual direction; the personal prayer practices of journaling, praying the Psalms, Lectio Divina, and centering prayer; and, St. Benedict's monastic virtues of stability, obedience and conversion of life. The flow of spiritual direction included group contemplative silence, a time for each participant to share their journey into God, and a commitment to listen, reflect, and respond to the other group members’ narratives of their journey into God.

Cultivate Compassion through Affective Perspective Taking

Author
Weihua He D.Min.
Abstract
The hope of the researcher in the project was to help people cultivate compassion through affective perspective taking preconditioned by the practice of imaginative meditation on gospel accounts, the practice of the Jesus Prayer, and the practice of cognitive disputation technique. This research depended on the strategies for data analysis advised by grounded theory. The project did effectuate interpersonal and intrapersonal empathy. The problem studies was whether or not a program of affective perspective taking preconditioned by imaginative meditation, mindfulness practice, and cognitive disputation technique would effectuate the cultivation of compassion in the life of a group of dating or married Christians.

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.

Assessing, Identifying and Cultivating Ministries Toward a Mature Holistic Process of Disciple Making

Author
Brian Cederquist D.Min.
Abstract
Although discipleship seems to be a current buzzword in ministry today, it is more than just a current fad. Discipleship is deeply rooted in scripture. Even at a cursory look, one can easily see its importance to the church. This is why many pastors and churches have found themselves actively pursuing growth in this area. There have been countless books, studies, programs, and training opportunities available for pastors and churches to educate their people about discipleship. However, the process of evaluating one’s effectiveness in discipleship is often a piece of the puzzle that is left out. This project journals one churches process of defining, assessing, and cultivating their holistic process of disciple making. As you continue to lead your church through this process of evaluation, you may find this research helpful to your process. No two churches are alike, and no two evaluations will be identical. Please use this as a launching point for your own churches evaluation process.

The Spirituality of Fatherhood: Developing a Faith Formation Program for the Archdiocese of Chicago

Author
Willie Robert Cobb Jr. D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project set out to explore the current faith formation programs offered in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the experience of fathers within this context, to support the spiritual growth of fathers and to explore how the church is called to support that growth through faith formation. The meta-method employed for this thesis-project involves the four “movements” of the “pastoral circle” developed by Joe Holland and Peter Henriot, with two additional steps—engagement with theory and correlation. The process included both a broad approach and a personal outreach to those working in the African American and queer communities. Direct outreach to various parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago entailed making phone calls, sending emails, or stopping by a total of 32 parishes. In the end, three focus groups were conducted. The moderator completed all the necessary IRB paperwork and permissions prior to the session meetings. The moderator encouraged participation from each participant in order to elicit information from every single person in the group. To facilitate the discussion, questions were presented to allow the participants to reflect on and share their experiences. Genograms were used to help the participants consider the impact of their personal family history on themselves and their children for several generations back. The project presented and answered the following questions: Does the Archdiocese of Chicago play a role in helping fathers understand how to raise their children, how to fight stereotypes they face about their fatherhood, and how to share their spirituality with their children in a way that interrupts patterns of violence and confronts the social issues they encounter? A two-tiered program was developed to address the concerns that were presented through the course of the project to provide agency for fathers in developing their own spirituality.

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.

Spiritual Formation in a Hong Kong Chinese Context: A Personal Journey, a Teachable Model Based on 1 John 2:12-14, and a Research Report

Author
Daniel Hung Fai Cho D.Min.
Abstract
In this research portfolio, the author describes Christian spiritual formation as a growth process with common stages and tasks with reference to 1 John 2:12-14 while acknowledging the uniqueness of spiritual experience for each individual Christian through spiritual autobiography. The common spiritual growth stages and tasks were developed as a model derived from an exposition with reference to 1 John 2:12-14. The uniqueness of Christian spiritual formation is acknowledged by a spiritual autobiography, which describes the author’s experiences with God and spiritual realities throughout his life. The universality of Christian spiritual growth is then suggested and illustrated through a model of spiritual growth from the passage. Lastly, a research project investigates the author’s teaching effectiveness in a Personal Growth course with ten students as participants in a Hong Kong (China) seminary using a combination of the two previous sections as teaching components in the journey of Christian spiritual formation. The findings and comments in this report bring to light some valuable teaching advice for Hong Kong seminarians concerning the duality of Christian spiritual formation. This report shows the effectiveness of incorporating the writing of a spiritual autobiography and exploring various learning tasks associated with 1 John 2:12-14, in that these were beneficial to the spiritual growth of Hong Kong seminarians.

Vox Spiriti Sancti: An Impact Study of the Spiritual Life of Christian Professionals in Cleveland, Ohio

Author
Victor J Pergola
Abstract
Vox Spiriti Sancti: An Impact Study of the Spiritual Life of Christian Professionals in Cleveland, Ohio:
The purpose of this project was to impact the spiritual life of a select group of Christian professionals in the Cleveland, Ohio area. The project included the facilitation of a pre-test and post-test Likert Scale instrument. The course content brought focus to the principle Christian mysteries of Trinity, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The results indicated an increase in awareness for growth in spirituality. There were three themes of emphasis in a small group setting: worship and liturgy, prayerful sharing of Scripture, and the importance of Scripture for Christian growth.

Self-Awareness: The Vital Key to Successful Spiritual Leadership Development Through a 5 Day Boot Camp Experience

Author
William E Joseph Jr.
Abstract
Self-Awareness: The Vital Key to Successful Spiritual Leadership Development Through a 5 Day Boot Camp Experience

The purpose of this project was to impact Seventh-day Adventist ministerial interns preparing for ordination to begin the process of becoming self-differentiated leaders. The design of the project included the administration of pre-assessment and post-assessment questionnaires, along with five modules focusing on self-awareness for completion by the participants.
The results of the five-day self-awareness course revealed that the participants became more self-aware. Self-awareness among the participants improved as they integrated biblical principles from 2 Peter 1:5-8, the formation of a personal mission, vision and philosophy statements, taking diagnostic tests, practicing the discipline of solitude, and tracking a life sketch.

Discovery of How Pilgrimage on The Way of Saint James in Northern Spain Affects Spiritual Healing

Author
Leslie Oden McNamara
Abstract
Discovery of How Pilgrimage on the way of Saint James in Northern Spain Affects Spiritual Healing:

The purpose of this discovery project was to discover the level of healing that participating in the pilgrimage known as The Way of Saint James, in Northern Spain, had on a group of self-selected individuals. The participants were surveyed using an online assessment tool through a website called Survey Monkey. The eighty-five self-selected individuals responded to the assessment instrument after they completed the journey. The results suggest that the pilgrimage journey changed the participant's general outlooks on life and fulfilled unmet emotional needs or core longings.
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