Spiritual formation

Anxiety, Mindfulness, and Spiritual Practices

Author
Charlene E Wilson
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to impact the level of present moment awareness of a group of Christian women who struggled with anxiety through the embrace of spiritual practices. The goal to impact the participant's experience of God's love gained the highest mean change and showed that women were able to be in the present moment and therefore less anxious through involvement with spiritual practices.

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.

Church leadership enhancement and spiritual disciplines

Author
Shusheng J Siah
Abstract
This research dissertation is mainly a case study of the Chinese Evangelical Free Church of Los Angeles (CEFCLa), where the writer has ministered to the Mandarin congregation as the lead pastor for about ten years. Its goal is to search for implementable principles, strategies and methodologies with sound biblical and theological foundation to enhance the church leadership and spiritual disciplines, so that a so-called healthy and balanced church could be operated. This implies that this church will be undergoing three conditions: (1) a sound structure system and well operational function; (2) her members demonstrating balanced and vivid Christian life; and (3) undergoing sustainable implementation plans.

Corporate worship as improving baptism practices toward the new identity of God's people

Author
Luke W Brodine
Abstract
Literature suggests that there is a fundamental connection between baptism and ongoing spiritual formation, and that pastors must recognize how practices impart understanding and shape identity. The purpose of this study was to explore how pastors' conduct of corporate worship services helps congregants connect the practice of baptism to the pursuit of spiritual formation. The study employed qualitative research methods and used a semi-structured protocol to interview six demographically diverse pastors. The study concluded that narrative is a key instrument uniting baptismal practice with identity formation, and that baptismal formation is fostered in the context of community and corporate worship.

Transformative preaching in Chinese churches

Author
Philip D Douglass
Abstract
The research explored how pastors preach, their spiritual formation and ethos that encourage transformation in the lives of listeners within Chinese churches. This study is composed of a qualitative design using a semi-structured approach to interview six experienced Chinese pastors. This study concludes that sound hermeneutics leads to sound homiletics. Spiritual formation consists of stringent spiritual disciplines and a required development of godly character within preachers. The message delivered by pastors needs to be clear, understandable and have the ability to connect to the Chinese culture in order to encourage transformation within the lives of listeners.

Emerging adult spiritual formation practicing faithfulness in fellows programs

Author
Chad H Donohoe
Abstract
The purpose of this qualitative study was to discover how Fellows alumni describe the formative experiences of their Fellows Program. Three research questions guided this study: How do Fellows alumni describe the formative practices of the Fellows Program? How do Fellows alumni describe the impact of their Fellows Program? How do Fellows alumni describe the role of the local congregation in their Fellows Program? The study revealed no overall decline in the faith of emerging adults during college, highlighted factors influencing the increase or decline of their faith, and demonstrated that they need the cultivation of right loves.

Exploring anthropological monism for pastoral care practice

Author
Michael R McLeod
Abstract
This research project explored the viability and benefits of anthropological monism for pastoral care practice in a local church, utilizing (a) integration for holism to overcome fragmentation due to sin, (b) embodiment to refocus the church towards human physicality and the prominence of resurrection for end-of-life outcomes, and (c) community for forging outwardly focused relationships for a healthy and healing orientation of spiritual maturation for whole and holy personhood. A multidisiplinary literature review was undertaken to glean pastoral care insights from the bio-cultural sciences. Finally, qualitative ground theory was deployed in fieldwork to discover potential misgivings and benefits for pastoral care.

Spiritual formation for seminarian spiritual leaders

Author
Patricia L Cowan
Abstract
Jesus changed the world through spiritual formation and spiritual maturity. Jesus' focus upon God enabled him to do God's will. Jesus separated himself from culture and people at times to be with God in nature, pursuing God at the deepest level. Seminary spiritual formation training at the deepest level can be most beneficial to spiritual leaders, churches, ministries, and culture. This project included thorough research of scripture, literature, and survey method on spiritual formation and spiritual direction. Common themes from these three areas of research were combined to encourage seminary spiritual leaders to be free through intentional spiritual formation.

Spiritual formation: beyond cognitive belief -- an ethnographic study of adult Sunday school in baptistic churches in Massachusetts

Author
Laura J Cassidy-Moffatt
Abstract
This research project examined adult Sunday school in seven baptistic churches in Massachusetts. An ethnographic study was conducted to discern common practices and highlight opportunities for growth in the midst of church decline. The researcher examined the biblical concepts of teaching and knowing and conducted a literature review of the history of Sunday school, pedagogical best practices, and advances in cognitive neuroscience of learning. The researcher identified five themes common to these Sunday school programs that have resulted in lack of holistic formation in Sunday School as traditionally practiced: mission, attendance, commitment/engagement, format, and content. The field research yielded a pessimistic portrait of adult Sunday school in six of the seven churches studied. It was shown to be an outdated model practiced by a dwindling group. The researcher described ways, using the five identified themes, in which the aging Sunday school model could be augmented to better fulfill the goals of knowing in the biblical sense, personal transformation, and cooperation with the Holy Spirit's guidance and teachings. Teaching in ways that transform lives is a long-term cooperative effort with the Holy Spirit and can only be done in the context of a healthy church community. Churches that do not prioritize discipleship set themselves up for members who are spiritually apathetic, and ultimately those churches may decline over time.

The Cohort Program and spiritual formation fostering spiritual formation within the Cohorts

Author
Bruce D Bell
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to discover the influence that Ashland Theological Seminary Cohorts have had upon the spiritual formation of the Master of Divinity Alumni. The project discovered the process of formation that was being accomplished through the Cohort Program by using a survey of twenty-four questions that was administered through SurveyMonkey. The questionnaire gathered quantitative and qualitative answers that determined that there was spiritual formation occurring as a result of the Cohort Program. The answers also discovered that the main formative factor in the process of spiritual growth was the community life of the Cohort Program.
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