Spiritual formation

Preaching for transformation: developing sermons that aim at personal transformation

Author
Mark W Hanke
Abstract
Research indicates people who call themselves Christians and who listen to dozens of sermons each year are morally hard to distinguish from people who claim no faith in God and have no practice of listening to sermons preached from God's Word. It is God's intention to see his followers transformed into the image of his Son. One of the methods he has chosen to use to realize this spiritual life-change is the preaching of his Word. But preachers have to make sure they are committed to life-changing sermons and not merely an informational exchange. Sermons are meant to bring transformation, not simply inform people of what a biblical text is saying. This thesis-project will help Christian communicators understand how their preaching can align with God's vision to see people conformed to the image of his Son.

Being transformed in the image of Christ

Author
Elaine J Eskew
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry project addresses the need and benefits of undergoing a spiritual transformation by Christians into the image of Christ. Knowing who you are will empower Christians in times of spiritual crisis and distress. The solution was the development and implementation of the Theo-Transformational Ministry Bible Study Series "Being Transformed in the Image of Christ Project" (BTIC). The project explores the biblical and theological basics for forming a transformational ministry to work in conjunction with the apostolic teachings of the church universal.

Made to make a difference: ministry formation and the holistic redemptive vision of the kingdom of God

Author
Lance Blair Dixon
Abstract
Building on the work of Harv Powers and Rod Cooper in redemptive leadership, this thesis-project seeks to clarify the biblical meaning of redemption and provide a model of discipleship that takes into account the full implications of participating in Christ's transformative work in the world. The goal of designing a holistic discipleship model is to enable Christians to understand more fully and practice more intentionally the true nature of God's reign which we have been called to witness and serve, which is the redemption of all creation. The chapters build toward the development of a curriculum designed to offer every disciple a deeper biblical understanding of God's reign, a clear process of growth consistent with this holistic redemptive biblical vision, and a set of right practices to follow in each dimension of growth, regardless of the participant's particular sense of vocation. By building the curriculum on two influential ethical models of character formation, participants were given the tools to identify ways of deepening their commitment to Christ, growing in their conviction of the kingdom of God, cultivating a more compassionate heart, and developing the kind of Christ-like character that would bear the fruit of the kingdom in their daily lives.

Developing transformational leaders with a redemptive framework at Faith Baptist Fellowship

Author
Gregory J Dirnberger
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to demonstrate that there is a developmental process by which transformational leaders can nurture and reproduce other transformational leaders. Further, there is a redemptive framework that can inform and shape this developmental process in such a way that lives are changed, transformational leaders can be multiplied, and an organization (a church congregation in this case) may be nurtured into vibrancy and health. It is the desire of this writer that this thesis-project may not only articulate a guiding philosophy of developmental process at Faith Baptist Fellowship, but also create an intentional plan and structure for reproducing transformational leaders who possess and can assert their leadership in light of the redemptive leadership framework. This project includes: 1) a description of the organizational context that gave rise to this writer's application of the aforementioned thesis, 2) relevant discussion of biblical and theological foundations that inform and support the thesis, 3) a survey of both spiritual and secular literature that interact with and apply the principles of transformational leadership, and 4) a description of a pilot program designed and implemented by this writer where the convictions of this thesis were applied, tested, and reflected on.

Developing a discipleship strategy for selected believers at Third Baptist Church, Malvern, Arkansas

Author
William T Strike
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to develop a spiritual disciplines strategy for adults at Third Baptist Church, Malvern, Arkansas. The project director explored the field of spiritual formation and identified disciplines that would benefit selected members of the church. A strategy team, comprised of selected members, developed a strategy for instructing the adults at Third Baptist Church, Malvern, Arkansas. The project concluded with a presentation of the team's developed strategy to the deacons at the church.

The transforming effects of the incarnate word via lectio divina within individuals in the Salvation Army

Author
Ruth W Blais
Abstract
The following work is designed to show the possibilities for spiritual transformation through the Incarnate Word via the ancient art of lectio divina. This transformation can take place even though a person's background has been challenging. This work was born out of the writer's desire to meet the cry of the empty human heart. In this work the question of the church's role in spiritual formation will be examined and it will be evidenced that the church of today has come up short and must re-examine where they are in their own process of spiritual growth. The writer explores attitudes and mind sets that churches fall into that can inhibit parishioners in their journey toward transformation. The case studies in this work have been designed to be user-friendly with both individuals and groups. A one-day seminar has been provided that will outline the basics needed to guide a group through the history and process of lectio divina and open up a whole new world for those who choose to practice it.

Trinitarian missional matrix: framing a community of integrated faith, learning, and mission

Author
Steve S Sherman
Abstract
This thesis examined relational trinitarian theology as a theological matrix for creating an undergraduate senior year capstone course to prepare students to enter the professional world as a participating disciple of Christ. Relational trinitarian theology provides an integrated vision for life and living in the context of the missio Dei and provides a model for holistic missional living in community and vocation. The outcome of this research was the development of a curriculum utilizing a "backward design" model that begins with desired outcomes and then works backwards to design learning activities that will shape those outcomes.

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.
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