Spiritual life

Developing a coaching model of ministry to mitigate moral drift in Special Operations

Author
Pete Stone
Abstract
"Soldiers serving in Special Operations Forces (SOF) live under enormous pressures to perform at the highest levels while sustaining a high, relentless operational tempo. Unless they remain grounded in an identity gives them meaning apart from their SOF profession, that pressure can more easily erode personal values, cause moral drift, and lead to unintended consequences. Chaplains serving in SOF must find effective ways to help mitigate this risk and support a flourishing life. The author received training in a Christian-based personal coaching program and implemented that coaching model with a test sample of five Soldiers serving in SOF to mitigate that risk. The author measured the effectiveness of the coaching process with direct observation, interviews and surveys, and determined that personal coaching effectively reduced the risk of moral drift in the subjects. The author concluded that the coaching model provides an effective way for chaplains serving in SOF to help Soldiers remain grounded in their identity outside of the SOF profession by helping them clarify their values, determine their priorities, and design actions that will align them with that identity. Personal coaching is an effective ministry tool chaplain can use to mitigate the risk of moral drift and support a flourishing life in the lives of their Soldiers." -- Leaf [2].

Decolonizing our bodies, minds and spirits : resiliency and spiritual practices among Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color

Author
Rebekah Ann Savage
Abstract
"[In this project paper, the author examines and reflects upon] . . . the resilience of Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color and indigenous people through spiritual practices as a way towards liberation and intersectional justice. The author recruited thirty-six [Unitarian Universalist] religious professionals [to participate in] a [six-week] structured program of learning and reflection . . . . [The program was designed to help participants] identify spiritual disconnects between religious and spiritual beliefs and everyday lived experience. As evidenced by beginning and post-project surveys and periodic narrative prompts, the participants affirmed the positive results of the program which led to a deeper spiritual integration and wholeness." -- Leaf [2].

Ministry of presence in the absence : the art of providing pastoral care across multiple deployed spaces

Author
Azande M. Sasa
Abstract
"Ministry of presence forms the heart of the chaplain's ministerial role. Yet how does ministry of presence manifest when the chaplain is estranged from or does not have physical access to their service members? This project explored the question of ministry of presence among chaplains in highly dispersed and secure Military Intelligence units within the context of a Unitarian Universalist historico-theological framework. The research methodologies for the author's data corpus included: ethnographic research, questionnaires, focus group discussions, and expert and informal interviews. She then analyzed the results in order to glean a better understanding of the applicability of ministry of presence across multiple deployed spaces. The findings suggest that flexibility and an expanded notion of presence as interconnection, presence within, and presence as creativity, lead to greater fulfillment in performing and providing religious and spiritual support for one's deployed personnel." -- Leaf [2].

Moral injury : a chaplain pre-emptive training to mitigate the longevity of moral injury results through community, training, and spiritual resilience

Author
Gary D. Sands
Abstract
"The problem proposed for this study assumes there is little or no pre-emptive Moral Injury training in the Army; and that pre-emptive Moral Injury training aids in processing through Moral Injury. This project developed a Moral Injury healing training plan; and from this plan further developed a pre-emptive Moral Injury training program. The author utilized a premade survey to discover Moral Injury in Soldier participants. The results of this survey were tallied and processed using Spearman's Rho statistic. The data demonstrated strong areas in which Soldiers needed special attention. This attention is the focus of the healing training plan." -- Leaf [2].

ArtReach : a creative spiritual exploration for queer Christians

Author
Mark E. Parsons II
Abstract
"For decades, the church has debated the issue of homosexuality. While the "who's in and who's out" battles continue, queer Christians find themselves with few resources that address their unique spiritual experiences. The author argues that through creativity, queer Christians can know and experience God and self more profoundly. After exploring the spiritual abuse of queer Christians, the significance of coming out, and the need for a queer Christian spirituality, the paper discusses the development, implementation, and evaluation of ArtReach, a four-week creative spiritual exploration for queer Christians that moves the conversation from apologetics to celebrating spirituality and sexuality." -- Leaf [2].

Silence and solitude : being fully present to god, self, and others in a distracted world

Author
Gregory S. McVey
Abstract
"With relentless distraction and preoccupation, the current cultural environment suffers from a certain kind of attention deficit disorder in which individuals are rarely "all there." People often find themselves going in a hundred directions. Without the ability for sustained focus, they struggle to remain fully present to the things that matter most. This loss of attentiveness can result in a devastating loss of connectedness (i.e., being fully present) to what God is doing, to the condition of one's self, and to how we are connected to others. To test this hypothesis, silence is introduced using disciplines such as solitude, meditation, and spiritual journaling. To fulfill the goal of the project, Soldiers and Civilians from the United States Army Cyber Command and United States Army Chaplain School and Center completed a seven-day devotional (including fasting from social media). Also, surveys and personal interviews were conducted to gain feedback. The project concludes the practice of silence, solitude, journaling, and fasting from social media does bring about an increase in spiritual growth and connectedness." -- Leaf [2].

Formed in the presence of God : the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps and classical spiritual formation

Author
Kenneth D. Gillespie
Abstract
"This project seeks to address a problem in how the US Army currently develops spiritual fitness. Spiritual fitness is recognized as a key component of Soldier and family readiness, but existing programs fail to adequately address spiritual fitness. US Army chaplains are best positioned to correct this deficiency. The training program offered as part of this project seeks to determine whether training on spiritual formation disciplines classic to the Christian tradition will enable US Army chaplains to feel more confident and competent to address spiritual fitness among Soldiers and families and whether or not it will inspire US Army chaplains to develop and offer similar training from within their own spiritual formation traditions." -- Leaf [2].

Wayfinders : engaging the hero's journey in contemplative prayer to enhance the spiritual depth and practice of missional spiritual directors

Author
Wendi A. Bernau
Abstract
"This project utilized an adaptation of Joseph Campbell's hero's journey as a tool for spiritual development. As persons participate in the process of finding the self, they are embarking on the mystical spiritual journey of awakening, dark night of the soul, and union with the divine. The elements of the project included experimental teaching on the story of Judith and hero's journey as well as time spent in contemplative reflection by each participant. The project took place during retreats of Anam Cara (Soul Friend), the two-year missional spiritual direction training program of the Missional Wisdom Foundation. Participant responses show that indeed the hero's journey framework can provide powerful structure to this self-reflection process and be efficacious in spiritual direction." -- Leaf [2].

Enhancing Exegetical Preaching Skills of Old Testament Narratives that Increase Congregational Awareness of Spiritual Empowerment at Central Baptist Church, White Hall Arkansas

Author
Jordan Stephen Ferris
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to enhance exegetical preaching skills of Old Testament narratives that increase congregational awareness of spiritual empowerment at Central Baptist Church, White Hall, Arkansas. The congregation will start to develop a deeper sense of biblical theology and spiritual empowerment by understanding the context and application of Old Testament narrative, and thus helping the congregation potentially see spiritual empowerment from other biblical narrative texts within the canon of Scripture.

The project director will be using the Preaching Skills Enhancement model with three phases to accomplish this mode. Phase one will consist of researching expository preaching and proper exegesis of Old Testament narratives. Phase two will be the formulation, writing, and preaching of a sermon series from Old Testament narrative. Phase three will be the assessment of data and impact on the congregation as well as the project director.

Examining the Spiritual Growth in Korean Immigrant Christians at Holy Cross International United Methodist Church Through a Set of Spiritual Formation Retreats

Author
Yoon-Seok Choi D.Min.
Abstract
This project examines the spiritual growth of Korean immigrant Christians through a set of spiritual formation retreats. The key concept of the retreats is to cultivate well-balanced spiritual life for Korean Christians. With three retreat participants, the researcher is seeking a tangible foundation for accomplishing a deepened spiritual life. While the Korean churches strived to achieve quantitative growth in a short time, they relatively did not pay much attention to the spiritual realm in thousands of years of Christian history. Marjorie J. Thompson provides a well-balanced spiritual formation retreat tool with her book “Soul Feast.” This book is used for the main tool for the intervention. Soul Feast contains ten sessions of spiritual formation themes including the spiritual thirst followed by reading the Word, prayer, common worship, worth of Sabbath, self-emptying, brief information of spiritual direction, hospitality, and making rule of life. The researcher facilitates the retreats for the participants so that they can experience a broaden realm of spiritual practice tradition. With pre and post in-depth interviews, the research examines the differences of each individual participant’s spiritual life practices. By interpreting the results, the researcher tries to find the positive factors as well as limitations found in the intervention.
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