Theology, Practical


Video Church: The Effects of the Video Church Model on Christian Hospitality

Author
Assad Mohammed Saif D.Min.
Abstract
Hospitality is fundamental to human spiritual growth. Jesus knew this. Therefore, Jesus spent much time seeking to encounter people in the spaces they naturally congregated in. God sent Jesus to come from heaven to earth to show people the incarnate God and his desire to welcome them into his family. More specifically, God sent Jesus to a specific culture in the world where he believed the message of God’s love could be viewed through the lens of hospitality. By using a grounded theory approach, the researcher set out to discover the methods by which hospitality is impacted within the video church model of Sunday morning church worship services. The researcher identified 12 key hospitable qualities necessary for the development of a culture of hospitality in church services. The researcher identified seven principles of healthy hospitality and seven considerations toward sustaining healthy hospitality within the video venue church. The researcher identified how human spirituality benefits from acts of hospitality by specifically studying the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 and the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. The researcher identified and analyzed data gathered from interviews with Senior church leaders, volunteers in video churches and small group leaders who attend video church services. This data was collected in order to help the researcher discover the effect of hospitality and how the lack thereof affects spiritual growth in the video church model. The researcher identified both the key qualities of hospitality which contribute toward healthy spiritual growth in video church services and the types of video church services that help to produce these qualities in Christ followers.

A Qualitative Analysis of Church Leadership Conflicts in Evangelical Churches in Northern Nigeria With a View to Building a Better Transformational Leadership Model

Author
Timothy Danladi Nwan D.Min.
Abstract
The project addresses leadership conflicts among church leaders in evangelical churches in Nigeria with the view toward building a better transformational leadership model. To address these conflicts the project centered upon transformational leadership phenomena, showing that a leadership development training program model for the future leaders must be seen as a priority in all the evangelical churches in Northern Nigeria. Such a model would be based on the researcher’s qualitative research study, which used thirty-six participants from evangelical church denominations as a case study. The study included both interviews and fieldwork-based research, in which the case studies of church leaders were analyzed to understand their perspectives on their leaders, as well as their impact on the community of faith and the culture from a biblical perspective. The project intends to motivate church leaders to learn to respond effectively to conflict resolution in their ministries. The researcher will use this model approach to better equip and organize seminars and workshops for church leaders and other emerging leaders through the researcher’s non-profit organization, the Leadership Training Center (LTC), in Northern Nigeria

The Art of "Naming Grace." Nurturing everyday mysticism in the life of the contemporary Christian.

Author
Gerardine Ann Doherty Sr D.Min.
Abstract
Is the Holy Spirit alive among God’s people today? Does the Catholic Church recognize the potential of such a reality? Do ministers nurture, encourage, uphold this gift of God’s extravagance ~ grace operative and dynamic in each member?
The core of this thesis-project explores the ‘instinctive hunch’ that God’s Spirit is present and moving among God’s people, be it often yearning recognition, deliverance and liberation. The potential for all the baptized to fully embrace their already-God-given giftedness, is something not yet fully conceived.
By briefly presenting the experience of mysticism through historical interpretation, acknowledging contemporary spiritual authors and gathering current spiritual experience of ‘ordinary’ people, the stage is set to introduce Karl Rahner’s notion of everyday mysticism. Then, convinced of the extravagance of God, a final question is surveyed: Should existing theological, spiritual and psychological ministerial assumptions be challenged, in order for the fullness of Vatican II’s “universal call to holiness” to be a reality?

The Art of "Naming Grace." Nurturing everyday mysticism in the life of the contemporary Christian.

Author
Gerardine Ann Doherty Sr M.A.
Abstract
Is the Holy Spirit alive among God’s people today? Does the Catholic Church recognize the potential of such a reality? Do ministers nurture, encourage, uphold this gift of God’s extravagance ~ grace operative and dynamic in each member?
The core of this thesis-project explores the ‘instinctive hunch’ that God’s Spirit is present and moving among God’s people, be it often yearning recognition, deliverance and liberation. The potential for all the baptized to fully embrace their already-God-given giftedness, is something not yet fully conceived.
By briefly presenting the experience of mysticism through historical interpretation, acknowledging contemporary spiritual authors and gathering current spiritual experience of ‘ordinary’ people, the stage is set to introduce Karl Rahner’s notion of everyday mysticism. Then, convinced of the extravagance of God, a final question is surveyed: Should existing theological, spiritual and psychological ministerial assumptions be challenged, in order for the fullness of Vatican II’s “universal call to holiness” to be a reality?

HOLY LISTENING: CREATING NEW PRACTICES OF MISSION BY EXTENDING PASTORAL CARE BEYOND THE WALLS OF THE CHURCH

Author
Caitlin Thomas Deyerle D.Min.
Abstract
With a goal of developing a new practice of mission to address the disconnect between a congregation and its surrounding community and engage the historical and ongoing limitations of mission practices, this project sought to engage the skills of pastoral care to create a relational focused practice of holy listening. A five-week Lenten Listening program was developed to cultivate this practice and use it to create a deeper partnership with local educators. The evaluation methods used were a survey of the congregational participants before and after the program, and in-person interviews with the educators following the program. The project addresses racial and socioeconomic differences between church and community as a primary barrier to mission partnership.

A Biblical Examination of an Ontological reading of Theology, in Trinity, in the [Christian] Believer and in Church

Author
Erwin Samuel Henderson Dr Ph.D.
Abstract
Ontological theology considered in some theological works, was given little significance as a primary theme. The thesis attempts to restore prominence and cohesion of an ontological construct, whereby function and structure, are the subordinate product defined by the ontological theological perspective. The effects are far reaching for theological definitions of the essential nature of the Trinity, the believer and the church; representing a paradigmatic shift in theological understanding, affecting profoundly the nature existential Christocentric Christianity.
The ontological theology of Trinity contrasts with the relational subordination, authority-submission proponents and opponents, in substance, in relationship and in function. The recovery of apostolicity as an ontological attribute of Godhead provides significant insight and cohesion to the ontological Trinitarian proposal.
The effects upon the believer ontologically are contrasted with the religious disposition and the positional judicial approach to salvation. The prototypical shift occurs in the Person of Jesus-Christ to an existential reality originated in Trinity and replicated ontologically in the believer. The nature of humankind is thereby reinterpreted giving definition to the “spiritual man” as the sole form of legitimate existence that is biblically normalized and warranted.
The ontological primacy provides an alternate construct to the historical structural understanding of church that has not changed since the early patristic period. The proposal emerging from this exegesis is a model of church: ontological and apostolic, originated, [re]sourced, and incarnate from the nature of Trinity, demonstrating undeniably that it is impossible for the Church of divine intent to exist outside of the three persons of the Godhead. Christo-centricity restores Church to the origin, source and 'telos'. Present day observations may exemplify distanciation of contemporary expressions of church from ontological definitions. A return to source represents a theological and ecclesiastic field of renewal to perpetuate in the coming years.

A Mentoring Program for Pastoral Interns at Calvary Baptist Church, Watertown, WI

Author
Robert Loggans D.Min.
Abstract
The rationale for this project emerged from a significant need to encourage, promote, develop and train young men preparing for pastoral ministry in the local church setting. While the college and seminary classroom experience is of great value, the practical application of such knowledge under the tutelage of an experienced pastor helps to complete the preliminary preparation for pastoral ministry.

God's call to pastoral ministry is unique and individualized; the call to serve is a call to prepare. The Apostle Paul invested much time in his young protégé Timothy. Paul eventually gave the following characterization of Timothy, "For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state." (Philippians 4:20KJV)

This project (1) states the purpose of investing in those preparing for pastoral ministry, (2) provides theological and Biblical rationale for internships, (3) looks at and considers contemporary literature on internships and mentoring, (4) explains the design and methodology used in the project, (5) develops a narrative of the course of the project, (6) And shares the outcomes and suggestions for intentional mentoring internships in the local church setting.

Several significant findings indicate that internships are vitally important in preparing for pastoral ministry. Those preparing for pastoral ministry often desire an experienced pastor to make a significant investment in their lives. I have found that many pastors deeply desire to share their life and ministry experiences with those who are younger. Mentoring takes time, flexibility and understanding as each individual preparing for pastoral ministry is special and unique. It is a delightful privilege and joy to have part in preparing students for ministry.

Baptismal Covenant and Antiracist Identity: A Phenomenological Study of Christian Antiracist Formation

Author
John Matthew Weiler D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore the role of confession, repentance, and baptismal identity within the antiracist identity of four white Christians to further the work of antiracist transformation and organizing in the local church. The primary methodology for this work was exploratory, utilizing phenomenological, semi-structured, in-depth interviewing with a sample of four, white Christians at Eastern United Methodist Church in Michigan. The thesis was that baptismal identity, and the Christian practices of confession and repentance in the work of antiracism liberates white Christians to joyfully make space for all people to experience the liberating love of God.

Developing Better Interreligious Dialogue and Collaboration with Korean Muslims: An Exploration in Focolare Spirituality

Author
Mi Sook Han D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project focuses on fostering interreligious dialogue between the Korean Conference of Religions for Peace (KCRP), the most active interreligious dialogue organization in Korea, and Korean Muslim leaders who asked KCRP’s leadership to include Korean Islam as a member. This issue is still pending. The project seeks to develop interreligious dialogue between these two groups through an exploration in Focolare Spirituality, a spirituality of unity. Focolare Spirituality aims to promote universal fraternity and to achieve a more united world in which people respect and value diversity.
The project deals with four dialogues: dialogue with religious leaders who are related to this issue, Catholic Church’s teachings on interreligious dialogue, dialogue between religion and culture in Korean context, and dialogue with the Focolare spirituality in order to achieve the goal of mutual understanding and collaboration with Korean Muslims. This project concludes by offering a method from a spiritual perspective for a fruitful interfaith dialogue.

Visio Divina: In Light of the USCCB Curriculum Framework

Author
Eileen B Maggiore D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project involved working with eleven high school seniors from two schools while applying visual ethnographic research. The research method for ministry is attributed to Evelyn and James Whitehead’s attending, asserting, and responding. The study addresses three Catholic traditions-- the USCCB's Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for the Development of Catechetical Materials for Young People of High School Age, emerging disciples, and Lectio-Visio Divina -- juxtaposed to learning styles and postmodern American teens who attend two Chicagoland area Catholic high schools. The students were asked about their social media usage, teaching preferences and definition of a disciple. The interviewed students elicited a visual image, upon request, which represents discipleship and through the process of lamination described their image. The students spoke to their preferences of teaching styles along with how they would teach younger students. Students conversed about the time when they most felt like a disciple.
The interviewed students exhibited transformative learning after generating visual images from their personal mobile phones. The interviewees’ definition of a disciple became more elaborate as they progressed with the visual ethnographic discussion. The initial feedback to discipleship prompted an intellectual answer and through lamination their response became more personal. The students utilized generative learning to create a thick description of their previous knowledge about discipleship.
The students’ desire is to have their lessons taught with visuals and other supportive techniques, including time to assess new epistemologies. These findings suggest that the students are interested in a more embodied teaching experience which could promote teens into becoming emerging disciples. Transformative learning tools are found not to oppose, but rather complement the USCCB's Framework. It is suggested that the Gospel Visual Creation or to Pray the Lesson are teaching techniques which could assist in the formation of disciples among Catholic high school students.
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