Theology, Practical

Effective ministry in rural Iowa

Author
Daniel W Zink
Abstract
A qualitative study was done to gain a greater understanding of the attributes of effective ministries in rural Iowa. A forty-question church effectiveness survey, developed for the purpose of identifying effective rural churches, was mailed to the pastors of sixty-seven rural Reformed churches in northern Iowa. Data was gathered through six focus group meetings which revealed the following five characteristics of effective rural churches: a leadership team characterized by open discussion and good communication, a comfortable atmosphere, a willingness to address and resolve difficulties and an ability to trust each other; Willingness to experiment with new ideas for the church; Encouragement of members to participate and use their gifts; Involvement in the community; Friendliness towards and encouragement of members and non-members.

Evaluating Stephen ministry training and identifying lay caregiver characteristics at Granada Presbyterian Church

Author
Zachary W Eswine
Abstract
In 2000, when Granada Presbyterian Church assessed the care needs of their church, they found a renewed awareness of the need for ministries of care to church members. With no curriculum or tools already in place to train and equip church members for this ministry, Stephen Ministry was suggested. To consider the place of Stephen Ministry in the context of Granada, a review of Stephen Ministry in relation to other potential training systems was conducted to shed light on its strengths and weaknesses. The studies served to confirm the choice of Stephen Ministry as the best system for Granada to use. Further, the studies brought to light the characteristics of Stephen Ministry so that the candidates suited for this ministry can be better identified and recruited.

Rediscovering an eighth sacrament: a clergy's guide to discovering presiding and preaching as "first theology"

Author
James T Telhorst
Abstract
This thesis identifies the dynamics of the ministries of presiding and preaching as sacramental and integral to the experience of sacraments. It names the "something more," found in Saraosanctum Concilium, the place of first theology, the cosmic dimension of eucharist, and quality as contributing to the intrigue of the sacramental act. A "map of human consciousness" identifies ritual as a negotiation between the clarity of reason and the mysteries of life, revealing the challenge of the liturgical act. Works in orality and literacy identify the elements of the spoken word as identical to the dynamics of sacraments.

A model of collaborative ministry between preacher and musician

Author
Michael Brent Norris
Abstract
In worship the proclamation of the Word is accomplished through a variety of word based means including: lectionary readings, sermons, and hymn texts. This project focuses on how preacher and musician can work together to provide the worship assembly with a unified proclamation. This report explores the roles of preaching and hymns in the proclamation of the gospel. It offers a cooperative conversational model based on the tradition of lectio divina as a means of bringing together the ministries of musician and preacher in creating and offering the worshipping congregation a unified proclamation of the Word.

A successful plant: discovering church planting movements in Southern Worshester County

Author
Bruce M Dykstra
Abstract
This thesis project is a research study into what are the key principles that have been applied by church planters in Southern Worchester County an the surrounding areas. An ethnographic approach to ten church plants were included in this study. Three of the plants were investigated further with additional site visits, surveys and interviews with leaders and members of the church plant community. Four key principles were identified that contributed to the success of the church plant. The description of these discoveries will supply valuable information that can be used by future church planters.

A case for the local church applying a CRM framework to create a customer-centric approach to meeting the needs of corporate leaders in their communities

Author
William H Martel
Abstract
Evangelicals have been less successful than other religious groups in speaking to corporate managers, leaders, and executives in their communities. This project seeks to implement Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as a tool for developing services to all customer segments of any local church and, therefore, can be applied to the corporate leaders. Lessons from business have demonstrated the CRM is difficult to implement. A CRM framework, such as Gartner's eight block model, would help local churches leverage the benefits of CRM while avoiding the known risks. A seminar is to be developed to review the application in the churches of the Vineyard USA.

Revitalizing a missional orientation at Calvary Free Will Baptist Church, Columbus, Georgia

Author
Aaron R Baldridge
Abstract
Calvary Church had experienced a loss of ministry vitality, as evidenced in a decline in membership, salvations, and baptisms. A ministry can experience revitalization through God's power by discovering God's plan for the organization and recommitting itself to that plan. This occurs primarily through the pastoral ministry of preaching and pastoral leadership. The Praxis Director undertook to lead the congregation in a revitalization initiative to help the church experience renewal through preaching, pastoral leadership, and training. The congregation has begun the process of revitalization as evidenced by increased worship attendance, salvations, baptisms, and members involved in ministry.

Preaching and teaching a gospel harmony of Christ's passion at First Christian Church in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Author
Robert Roger Peadro
Abstract
This ministry praxis studies the use of a Harmony of Christ's Passion to help participants develop a better understanding of the sequence of events and influences surrounding the last two days of Jesus' life. The director translated the Passion Harmony into "everyday language," led a seven-part Bible study, and preached a sermon series utilizing the "new text." Participants and congregants evaluated the Bible studies and sermons to assess the effectiveness of the presentations. The evaluations indicated the participants grew in their understanding of the Passion and possibly deepened their faith.

The role of practical theology in helping to understand congregations after leadership misconduct of a non-sexual nature?

Author
James N Cotten
Abstract
Congregations in crisis may find themselves unable to manage events or regain a sense of healthy community. When a congregation undergoes change, it is in reality being renamed, redefined. The author states that both clergy and congregations must pause to reflect on who they are in relationship to God to prepare for the transformative work that God is calling them to do. Congregations that engage in Practical Theology are better able to manage change and conflict and may even be able to recognize and prevent misconduct. With that understanding they can create positive transformation, even in the midst of suffering.

Living from the inside out

Author
Gerald A Haynes
Abstract
Despite the varying understandings of spirituality and 2000 years of cultural diversity and denominational divisions, a remarkable consensus emerges regarding the essentials of the Christian life. Particular activities characterize the faithful but the activities themselves are inadequate to define the faithful. It is faith, love, humility, and obedience from their hearts, which give vitality to the individuals and define true spirituality. This thesis pursues the relationship between love, faith, humility, and obedience. Then the exercise of these qualities in the outworking of theology through devotion to scriptures, fellowship, communion, and prayer is examined. The result is a manual of spirituality suitable for new Christians with footnotes and resources for pastors and leaders.
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