Spiritual formation

Spiritual formation in the majority world: Luther W New Theological College in Dehradun, India

Author
Daniel J Schleuter
Abstract
The understanding of spiritual formation in the West has been shaped by historical influences and cultural overtones and thought patterns. The author considers the question: Is the Western understanding of spiritual formation appropriate to the majority world? Three cultural differences are compared: individualism/communalism, time/events and literate/sensate learning styles. After discussing the specific context of a theological college in India, the theological implications, other literature on spiritual formation, and a research survey given to the students at the college, the author concludes that the majority world would be better served by developing its own culturally appropriate understanding of spiritual formation.

A continuing education program for local church leaders of Burkina Faso: training ministers to balance numerical growth with spiritual maturity in the churches

Author
Zacharie Delma
Abstract
This work is a study focused on the development of a continuing training program for local church leaders in Burkina Faso. It asserts that a continuing education program is a lever that can promote not only development and well-being but also spiritual maturity. The fast-growing church and a low level of education are realities the churches in Africa are facing. Many local church leaders lack sufficient training to care well for their flocks. This problem is exacerbated by multiple challenges the country faces. In addition to a lack of development and education, there is pressure to have a large number of congregants but no effort to build qualitative spiritual formation. Continuing education aims to change lives by equipping the local church leaders with knowledge and leadership tools that help them to promote change in attitude and behaviors. The training program set to reach the goal of maturity is presented. Based on feedback obtained from leaders and teachers, this work gives instruction for further development of the continuing education program.

Addressing the spiritual formation needs of a new church: current realities, future opportunities and formative curriculum

Author
Adam L Feldman
Abstract
This D.Min. thesis-project presents a contextualized and philosophically missional spiritual formation curriculum designed for Metanoia Church, a church plant in Ellicott City, Maryland. A spiritual theology was developed based upon an interpretation of Matthew 5-7 through a theological framework of Christian spiritual formation. A literature review demonstrates the uniqueness of Christian spirituality, specifically in prayer, within contemporary western culture. Second, survey research was conducted to determine current formation realities. The spiritual theology and survey data were synthesized to design a comprehensive pathway for congregational spiritual formation. Summary comments are given on the role of spiritual formation in church planting.

Using redemptive discipleship to change a culture that fosters legalistic growth into a culture that fosters transformational growth in the Apostolic Church

Author
Kwabena D Akufo
Abstract
The thesis is "Using redemptive discipleship to change a culture that fosters legalistic growth into a culture that fosters transformational growth in the Apostolic Church." The researcher developed and taught a redemptive discipleship class as a tool for reducing legalistic tendencies. Students took a pretest and posttest survey. The pretest survey results confirmed the existence of legalistic tendencies. Given the limited time for the class the researcher decided that a reduction in legalistic tendencies of ten percent will be considered meaningful. The posttest survey results showed that the legalistic tendencies reduced by approximately fifteen percent.

An academic course on spiritual formation: understanding, developing, and implementing a strategy for spiritual growth of students in a Christian higher education institution

Author
Young Ho Hwang
Abstract
The purpose of this thesis-project is to understand the process of spiritual formation in order to develop and implement an academic course on spiritual formation that will help students to mature spiritually. Conclusions are drawn from a survey of works on the critical factors that contribute to the process of spiritual formation. Spiritual formation is "being alive to God" and "being like God." That is, a person undergoing spiritual formation grows in intimacy, love, devotion and knowledge of God and becomes more like God in his thoughts, emotions, desires and behavior. The basic factors in this process are: (1) what God has done for the believer, (2) what God has made possible for him/her, and (3) how a Christian responds to what God has done and made possible for him/her. These factors are rooted in God's sovereign grace. God makes spiritual formation possible and works with his people as they go through the process of spiritual formation. This two credit hour academic course on spiritual formation has been developed for undergraduate students at a Christian university. Students will gain valuable knowledge regarding spiritual formation and experience training that is critical for a lifestyle that makes spiritual formation possible. The course design was evaluated by several university faculty members who approved it "across the board."

Lectio divina as a catalyst for spiritual growth: a case study among mature believers

Author
Katherine Mills Johnson
Abstract
The recent rise in interest in spiritual formation and the spiritual disciplines seems to indicate that there is a growing awareness of the need to attend to the spiritual lives of Christians especially those who have been believers for some time. Studies show that many believers consider themselves to be stalled in their spiritual growth and that they often view prayer as a duty rather than a delight. The purpose of this thesis-project is to explore the question of whether or not prayer that is based in an intimate relationship with God, using Scripture as its foundation, can make a significant impact on the spiritual growth of Christians. To this end, thirty-eight individuals participated in a six-week study using lectio divina in their personal prayer time. Of these, 95 percent reported some degree of spiritual growth. The conclusion of this project is that lectio divina appears to have catalyzed growth in four areas: listening to God; deepening personal relationship with God; using Scripture as a basis for prayer; and being more disciplined in prayer.

Spiritual fathering

Author
Mark E Kiekhaefer
Abstract
This thesis-project presents Spiritual fathering as a process and a practice to promote spiritual formation within a local congregation. The process describes the journey to spiritual maturity following the model of human development from infancy to adulthood. The practice describes efforts which foster spiritual growth through a personal relationship where an older believer assists a person younger in the faith. Tremendous spiritual potential exists within many congregations in the lives of older saints to help others develop spiritually. Obstacles must be overcome to link older and younger men and thereby promote spiritual fathering. Spiritual fathering will access those needs and offer insights to promote such a ministry.

Cultivating an atmosphere of prayer for the preaching of the Word at Calvary Baptist Church, Moncks Corner, South Carolina

Author
John E Jenkins
Abstract
The Praxis Director had observed at Calvary Baptist Church that there was a lack of spiritual development in many who regularly heard sermons. He believed that this was partially due to a lack of prayer regarding the preaching. He therefore led the church in cultivating an atmosphere of prayer for the preaching through deepening his own prayer life, teaching a six-week lesson series on intercessory prayer, and preaching four sermons on how to have a powerful prayer life. He successfully cultivated an atmosphere of prayer for the preaching but only for himself and those attending the lesson series.

Designing and implementing a discipleship relationship process for church planters in the Dakota Baptist Convention

Author
Morgan T Medford
Abstract
Church planting takes great energy and focus. Planters easily overlook their own spiritual growth while helping others grow in Christlikeness. For the spiritual health of these church planters and their church plants, a clear path to ongoing personal spiritual formation is needed. To help planters in the Dakota Baptist Convention, a discipleship relationship has been designed to encourage their continuing spiritual formation. Working with a more experienced disciple, the spiritual disciplines of contemplative prayer, Lectio Divina, and solitude and silence form the project's focus. The goal is for church planters to develop lifelong spiritual formation practices.

A personal struggle between privilege, blessing, and luck and why it matters to God's entire creation

Author
Jonathan B Hall
Abstract
This project seeks to understand the current uses of the words "privilege", "blessing", and "luck" when describing God's actions and character. This project aims to help individuals and communities understand that God's blessings are unlimited and offered to all. Participants in the study were members of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Ventura, California. An invitation was sent out to the entire congregation to participate. Materials used were a movie and a questionnaire. Participants also stayed and discussed the topic in a larger group.
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