Theology, Contextual

Developing a Battle Plan for Spiritual Warfare with the Men of Crossroads Presbyterian Church

Author
Donald Sampson D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to investigate the topic of spiritual warfare and assess the level of understanding of it among the men of a Presbyterian congregation in order to develop a plan to enable the men to engage in spiritual battles with the world, the flesh and the devil. The project included a biblical and theological study, followed by interviews with a select sample of men from the congregation. Qualitative analysis revealed some confusion over the phrase “spiritual warfare.” Additional themes that emerged from the interviews included a high degree of awareness of temptations of the flesh as an ongoing source of spiritual struggles and a strong belief that Satan is real. This latter belief was tempered by widespread uncertainty over the relevance of Satan, or any demonic influence, due to a very high conviction about the sovereignty of God. A recognition of the importance of enlisting other men for help in fighting spiritual battles was also a significant theme. While the men interviewed identified the value of having “battle buddy” type relationships, they readily acknowledged the absence of such relationships. Quantitative research via a confidential, online survey confirmed a low level of self-disclosure among the men of the congregation.

The Pastoral Pulpit: Preaching to Offer The Assurance of Grace to a First Generation Burmese-Chin Refugee Congregation in the U.S.

Author
Biak Lian Thang D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis project focuses on preaching to offer assurance of grace to the people who are living in the midst of struggle, and to help them see ‘who they are, what they are, and where they are’ as Burmese-Chin refugees in the U.S.A. It is based on the belief that preaching assurance of grace and of God’s saving act in their journey of life to encourage in a foreign land and assures the congregation of God’s presence and care. The thesis project seeks to show that preaching can offer the assurance of grace that helps a congregation experience God’s grace in their lives so that they can reach the community as the faithful witnesses through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, even though they are invisible, insignificant, and minorities in the society.

Faith Goes to Work: An Impact Study of Integrating Christian Convictions with Workplace Practices

Author
Terry D Koehn
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to impact the missional practices of a small group of Elk City United Methodist congregants through their participation in an eight-week experience focused on the integration of faith with work. The process involved responding to pre-test and post-test surveys, learning and discussing relevant concepts, and reflecting on related articles and videos.
The results of the small-group process revealed that the participants become more adept in thinking theologically about work. The participants also grew in their ability to value God's purpose in the work of others and to develop God-honoring goals for their own work.

Developing an Understanding of the Way People in my Ministry Context Read and Interpret the Bible

Author
Dieuner Joseph Rev D.Min.
Abstract
Developing an Understanding of the Way People in my Ministry Context Read and Interpret the Bible provides an in-depth assessment of biblical interpretation at an African American church through an ethnographic analysis. The research not only offers a systematic approach for examining the relationship between biblical interpretation and spiritual growth in that congregation, it also explores how the African American cultural context of the members of the congregation guides the way they read the Bible and what role prejudice and discrimination against African Americans play in shaping the members’ interpretation of the Bible. Moreover, it examines their understanding of biblical authority and how that understanding impacts the way they apply scripture in their daily lives to enhance their spirituality.

Gift of Self- A New Way: To what extent does perception of St. Peter Julian Eymard's practical theology contribute to the Congregation and Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament?

Author
Darren Maslen, SSS Rev. Fr. D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project explores the capacity and practice of St. Peter Julian Eymard to place the transforming activity of God into dialogue with human experience and action. It is, therefore, chiefly a study of the practical theology of this French priest (1811- 1868), often designated by the Roman Catholic Church as the 'Apostle of the Eucharist', through the lens of the notion of gift of self as transmitted by him.

The current priority given by the Eucharistic religious congregations, and lay aggregation Eymard founded to pursue investigation and study into the significance of gift of self for both him and his constituency within Church and society, gives relevance to the thesis-project at this time.

Through qualitative research, this study suggests and proposes what gift of self looks like in the understanding of members of the Congregation and Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament, in light of the experience of undertaking faith and apostolate practices. Primarily, the thesis-project attempts to envision credible future ministry, mission and apostolate initiatives built upon the centrality of self-giving in St. Peter Julian’s expressed teaching and reflecting, sourced from the corpus of his written autographs.

AN AUTOETHNOGRAPHIC EXPLORATION OF MY CPE LEARNING PROCESS

Author
Anurag Mani D.Min.
Abstract
In this project I explore the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) learning process through the lenses of my human condition: my being an immigrant who was born and raised outside the United States of America and came to the country and to the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) process in my adulthood. I use the research method of autoethnography to explore and give voice to my experience. As an immigrant, I observe that my experience of my journey to become a CPE Educator has been marked with unique challenges that seemed different to the experience of those who were born and raised in the U.S.A. My research question is: Can a careful analysis and interpretation of my own experience in the CPE education process help other immigrants seeking CPE certification to better understand their own complex and unique experience through this difficult, challenging, and exciting process?

Transformative preaching in Chinese churches

Author
Philip D Douglass
Abstract
The research explored how pastors preach, their spiritual formation and ethos that encourage transformation in the lives of listeners within Chinese churches. This study is composed of a qualitative design using a semi-structured approach to interview six experienced Chinese pastors. This study concludes that sound hermeneutics leads to sound homiletics. Spiritual formation consists of stringent spiritual disciplines and a required development of godly character within preachers. The message delivered by pastors needs to be clear, understandable and have the ability to connect to the Chinese culture in order to encourage transformation within the lives of listeners.

Application of Paul Hiebert's critical contextualization model to corn beer use among Western Tarahumara believing men

Author
Ted B Wingo
Abstract
Corn Beer usage among the Western Tarahumara of Mexico involves complex beliefs and pervasive patterns of behavior. Will corn beer continue to dictate their way of life and define their identity? Or, will they submit to God's control through His Spirit, and be identified as Jesus' followers, while still being truly Tarahumara? The heart of this project involved a group of young men who said they believe the gospel, and agreed to apply Hiebert's critical contextualization model to their use of corn beer. The dynamic process unfolded as the men were challenged to think through and integrate biblical principles into their dangerous and destructive life situations involving corn beer.

Adapting the historical section of the Perspectives course into particular global contexts

Author
Yvonne W Huneycutt
Abstract
This thesis-project examines why and how the historical section of the mission mobilization course, Perspectives on the world Christian movement, should be adapted as the course is translated for international audiences. The history of the Perspectives course is recounted, focusing on the cultural and missiological environment that influenced the course. An annotated bibliography covers the history of the evangelization of various regions of the world. The author created a guide for Perspectives program developers to aid them in adapting the historical section into their particular cultural contexts. Conclusions are drawn from the evaluation of the guide by international Perspectives developers.

Evangelism is the redemptive mission of God for church growth

Author
Augustine Iwegbunem Odih
Abstract
There is concern within churches about the lack of enthusiasm for evangelism. This observation prompted this project on evangelism as an imperative redemptive mission of God for church growth. Students at Deeper Life School of Evangelism participated in focus groups about possible solutions to this problem. The paper explores diverse definitions of mission and evangelism and concludes that the redemptive mission of God is for total spiritual and social transformation of humanity made possible within contextual and strategic evangelism.
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