Spiritual formation

Spiritual formation: a tentative guide

Author
Accel Ruiz
Abstract
The research project provided the Fourth Church of the Nazarene in Mexico City with a curricular guide on spiritual formation within the Wesleyan theological tradition. The curriculum, written and taught by the pastor/researcher in Spanish, followed some of John Wesley's practices. The curriculum was tested with a small group of church leaders, many of whom had never received any formalized instruction in the spiritual disciplines and the Wesleyan theological tradition. The sessions included reading on spirituality and its development in the Wesleyan tradition, small group discussions, and the practice of spiritual disciplines between sessions. At the conclusion of the series of sessions, the group continued its commitment to the practice of spiritual disciplines and testified to the experience of entire sanctification.

The divine frame in the circle of life: self-consciousness raising and ritualizing for renewing faith and the faith community

Author
David E Wheeler
Abstract
This project engaged the author's congregation in a pilot study of a proposed educational and ritualizing program which focused on the character formation, life cycle issues and passages of participants to help raise self-consciousness, renew faith, and strengthen the faith community. The educational setting emphasizes storytelling and examination of domestic rituals. Participants also created worship-centered rituals enacting these life themes. The paper examines power relationships as sources of value, understanding and the ability to act. It discusses ritual theory and practice. The conclusion interprets ministerial practice contextually and confessionally in terms of prophetic, pastoral and priestly categories.

Evaluating strategies for enabling extension center students at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to meet the curriculum requirements in the spiritual and character formation competency

Author
Robert B Hall
Abstract
In this project the author explored some ways of teaching the class DISC5370 Discipleship: Personal Growth at the extension centers and examined some other existing approaches for teaching spiritual formation. After appraising these approaches, this student recommended strategies for teaching spiritual formation and teaching students to be effective mentors.

The development and evaluation of an instrument for assessing the spiritual formation program at Lincoln Christian College

Author
John K Jones
Abstract
The project evaluates how well Lincoln Christian College is accomplishing its goals of spiritual formation with its students. In 1996 when the research began the college had no means of evaluating and assessing the spiritual formation program. The desire was to develop and test an assessment tool for the spiritual formation of students at LCC. The hypothesis was that LCC was accomplishing its goals in spiritual formation. The research methodology sought to develop and test the tool form an initial pretest in May, 1996 and a posttest in May, 2000. The pretest/posttest model was employed, supported by interviews, and a spiritual well-being instrument. The research demonstrated that the program was effective.

Faith formation for children: the role of the home and the church

Author
Rita B Hays
Abstract
Faith formation for children begins in the midst of family life. Christian parents must accept their role as educators in the area of faith formation. The congregation also plays an important part. The home and church must work together. The method of research was the pro-active method, a method which intentionally engages in qualitative research while actively seeking transformation. The researcher used observation, a journal and interviews. The majority of families indicated that they perceived their role as educators in the area of faith formation. What changes was their understanding of this role as a more intentional one.

Developing a mentor-discipleship strategy as a foundation of Christian education at First Baptist Church of Youngsville, Louisiana

Author
T Glenn Young
Abstract
The thesis of this project was that spiritual development more readily occurs within the context of purposeful personal relationships rather than more traditional educational settings. Many current discipleship methods produce powerless Christians giving cognitive assent to biblical principles while living in discord with their stated beliefs. The author attempted to establish personal relationships as the primary method of assimilating and discipling new converts at First Baptist Church. Selected church members were trained in various mentoring methods and then were assigned a new Christian as their spiritual apprentice to be disciple.

Mentoring leaders as they evangelize spiritual seekers through seeker small groups

Author
Jeffrey K Wilson
Abstract
The primary focus of this project is the mentoring of individuals who will lead seeker small groups. A seeker small group is a grouping of eight to twelve individuals who are searching for answers to spiritual questions. The project is based on four biblical presuppositions. The intent of the project is to assist the church in her evangelistic responsibility. The project will encompass a mentoring process with two distinct phases: an intensive training and a supervision process. This on-the-job training will provide beneficial reinforcement and feedback and enhance the group experience. There will be no more than eight leaders and with an average of ten participants in each group.

John Wesley's practice of using exemplary Christian lives as patterns for spiritual formation

Author
Paul A Whiteford
Abstract
John Wesley utilized carefully chosen Christian biographies as a means of spiritual formation and direction among early Methodists in the eighteenth century. The purpose of this qualitative study is to evaluate the formational impact of this practice in a small group reading experience in the Marysville, Ohio Church of the Nazarene. Thirteen self-selected members of the church participated in a thirteen week guided reading experience that required the reading of three biographies according to an agreed class schedule. Participants completed forms recording their reflections and spiritual aspirations as they read and also completed a spiritual life questionnaire before and after the thirteen week study. All of the group sessions were recorded on audio tape and transcribed for analysis, as were individual interviews with each participant within one week of the final group session. The research found most participants to be enthusiastic about using the lives of exemplary Christians as models for spiritual living.

A mentoring process of disciple making for Crosspoint Community Church

Author
Douglas W Vaughan
Abstract
This ministry project report describes an effort by the author and a group of members from the Crosspoint Community Church of Reno, Nevada to create a mentoring process for making disciples. The project was designed to address the inadequate and ineffective disciple making practices within the church. The project concluded in the development and implementation of a mentoring process which (1) facilitated the spiritual growth of participants and (2) demonstrated potential use with other cell churches.

Drawing the mandala: a spiritual path to wholeness

Author
Marjorie A Laplante
Abstract
This study used a heuristic method to explore the question: "What is my experience of drawing the mandala?" Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning both center and circle. The purpose of this dissertation was to arrive at a description and understanding of the experience of drawing the mandala and its meaning in the author's life and ministry from a theological, spiritual and psychological perspective. Two co-researchers were chosen for this study. The author used image dialogues with her mandalas, while open-ended interviews were conducted with the co-researchers to gather the themes for this research. Major themes of self-integration and expanded awareness led to greater confidence in the experience of drawing the mandala to express the individual's spiritual and psychological journey of transformation. The dissertation includes the author's original mandalas, as well as those of her co-researchers.
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