Spiritual life

A structural approach to meditation and spirituality for Unitarians and Universalists

Author
Eugene Richard Widrick
Abstract
This project provides an introduction to spiritual discipline, focused on meditation, through a behavioral or structural approach, for Unitarians and Universalists. It includes a brief look at some earlier Unitarian and Universalist spiritualities, current attitudes, and how they relate to the religious milieu in which they are set. The project concludes with a consideration for the necessity to have meaning in life as well as religious behavior, even though consensus about meaning is lacking in Unitarian Universalist circles.

Ministering toward congregational maturity: a reformed perspective

Author
Thomas P Eggebeen
Abstract
The purpose of the thesis is to provide: 1) insights into the relevance of the Reformed tradition for congregational life; 2) examples and analysis of programs useful in creating a Reformed consciousness; and 3) a critique of fundamentalism. The focus of each chapter is as follows: 1) the theology and practice of infant baptism as the beginning point of a Reformed ministry; 2) spiritual confidence as the chief result of living within the Reformed tradition; 3) the reality and function of doubt within the believer's life; and 4) basic thoughts for Reformed spirituality.

A theological-educational model for ministry with young adults

Author
John C Randlett
Abstract
A ministry of meeting is an alternative to those traditional models of ministry which connote cultural-spiritual superiority. Assuming a global pluralistic community, the model maintains that the church is empowered by the gospel to meet one another and other peoples and cultures in dialogue and mutuality. Elements of the model tested include: theological, educational and developmental methodology, cross-cultural meeting and ministry and spiritual growth through Native American and Christian disciplines. The model's implications for parish ministry in outreach, education and spiritual development are suggested.

The art of wakefulness: introducing a creation-centered spirtuality into the life of a church

Author
Warren F Gaston
Abstract
The art of wakefulness project introduced a creation-centered spirituality to a United Methodist church. The associate pastor and eleven project associates studied creation-centered spirituality and integrated it into their understanding and practice. The project associates planned and led a ten-hour retreat attended by other church members. They then planned a twelve-week teaching program on spirituality and developed several new ministries.

A test instrument to measure selected christian character traits

Author
Barry Keith Keiser
Abstract
This project was concerned with the measurement of Christian character and undertook construction of an instrument designed to bring some quantification to such an assessment. Building on an extensive analysis of New Testament terms marking attributes of spiritual maturity, a scale (called the Spiritual Growth Inventory) measuring eight different dimensions of spiritual growth was developed and then pilot tested with a defined group of Bible school students.

Why go to church: tracing the relationship of spiritual growth and church participation

Author
Mary E Kraus
Abstract
The project explores the contributing factors which determine whether a person chooses to be churched or not. The three groups explored were made up of people that: 1. were now churched but had been unchurced 5-plus years prior to current membership; 2. were now unchurched but had been churched for most of their lives; 3. were now churched and had been churched most of their lives. The project thesis then explores what might be the kinds of out-reach programs that would speak to a very secular community.

The role of spiritual values in the recovery of alcoholics

Author
S James Roessler
Abstract
This study treats alcoholism as a physical, mental and spiritual disease. The disease is examined in the context of a theological anthropology based on process theology. The alcoholic responds to the call to wholeness in the radical, healing relationship of prayer. The project explores 1) the role of spiritual values in the recovery of alcoholics in a 28-day residential treatment program, and 2) the comparative length of sobriety reported after three months. The results are: 1) the experimental group showed increases in spiritual consciousness and practice; 2) the control group showed no significant level of difference in spiritual practice at t2 or t3 point although this group showed significant change in spiritual consciousness at both points when compared with t1; 3) the experimental group reported a longer length of sobriety. The implications of the study include: the need for spiritual ministry for alcoholics in recovery; the value of treating the person as a whole; the minister has a role on the health care team as a fellow professional.

Prayer in Christian life

Author
William Charles McGraw
Abstract
The author developed and led two spiritual growth groups--one for clergy and one for laity--which lasted eight months. The purpose was to introduce the literature about prayer, to facilitate discussion about prayer, and to nurture individual spiritual growth. This paper includes a discussion of prayer in life, a survey of literature, description and evaluation of the two groups, theological reflections, and includes outlines of the sessions, a prayer worksheet, and an evaluation form for spiritual growth groups. The conclusion states that structural, intentional guidance in prayer is necessary in ministerial training and in the life of all Christians.

A strategy for spiritual formation

Author
Jeane A Spoor
Abstract
This project intended to discover an appropriate intervention to engage people in faith development and involvement in the church by enrolling the parents of confirmands in a series of faith seminars that were held from January to June, 1981. This program affirmed a process that enables intentional strategies to involve adults in spiritual formation. The function of the pastor in this exploration was to model a specific life-style of faith and to facilitate the spiritual formation of the seminar participants.

Membership renewal in a mainline church

Author
George Harrison Rodgers
Abstract
Members will participate in church programs which respond to persons' need for meaning and belonging. This was tested by questionnaires and discussion in a mainline congregation recently completing a three year program of public faith reaffirmation and membership renewal. Data confirms the thesis and supports continuation of the program. The study contributes to denominational discussion on baptism as sacrament of initiation to full membership and on the value of frequent renewals of the baptismal covenant. Commitment of congregation and its leadership to spiritual growth provides appropriate context for a meaningful renewal program.
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