Ryan James Lawrence Dr. D.Min.
In this portfolio the writer explored his ministry journey and identity through the lens of time, looking at his past, future, and present, in order to plot a course forward. In considering his past he examined how his theology of preaching had arisen out of his experiences and the relationship between biography and theology. In considering his future, he explored how the imagination could be used to help lead people and institutions to new horizons. In considering his present he researched how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted preachers in his denomination, The Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec (CBOQ), and how group story sharing could be used to aid in their healing and recovery. The research portion of this portfolio used a narrative study, the heart of which was a focus group meeting of five pastors, followed up by interviews in which participants contributed to the evaluation of the project. The key finding was that participants endured many common struggles and hardships, including the experience of “preaching into a void,” which described the hardship of speaking without a connection to one’s audience. Sharing their stories helped participants to understand and normalize these experiences, aiding in their healing.