Theology, Practical

A proactive strategy for improving the health and ministry effectiveness of Bethany Baptist Church

Author
Gary S Brooks
Abstract
This project proposes and implements a two-year revitalization process for a local Baptist congregation in order to foster renewal and growth. The congregation adopts initiatives designed to strengthen worship, prayer, outreach, assimilation, congregational care, fellowship, serving, finance, missions, and clarity of mission and vision. The project demonstrates that a proactive strategy to renew a congregation can affect attitudes and perceptions of members positively, but improved rates of growth and assimilation are more difficult to attain and require great intentionality on the part of everyone involved. Even if it does not result in newsworthy statistics, such an attempt to renew a congregation is beneficial for pastors and members alike.

Developing and evaluating an adult model of divorce recovery in a congregational setting based on Browning's fundamental practical theology

Author
Robert E Crisp
Abstract
This project proposes a practical theological model of divorce recovery for adults based on the work of Don S Browning, testing and evaluating it in a nine-week intervention program. Using a group support process and a didactic design to alleviate the complex emotional effects of divorce grief, the project improves the self-concept and positive divorce adjustment of participants, while imparting positive divorce theology concepts. Participants divorcing because of a spouse's adultery provide unique responses to the program.

A practical theology of forgiveness applied in pastoral counseling

Author
James D Parrish
Abstract
This project proposes a protocol applying biblical principles of forgiveness in pastoral counseling and tests its usefulness in counseling situations. Measured progress of clients confirms that application of biblical principles of forgiveness restores freedom in relationships for positive emotions and behaviors and freedom in individuals for relief of anger, resentment, depression, anxiety, stress, psychosomatic symptoms, and spiritual difficulties.

From survivor to renewal: a retrospective reflection on the revisioning of ministry during a time of crisis

Author
Ted L Sauter
Abstract
This project is an inductive, retrospective study of a pastor's experience in a declining congregation in a transitional urban community, concentrating on a renewal of public ministry during the Persian Gulf War. Using an Organizer Ministry model, the project proposes that life-changing ministry occurs when ministry responds with integrity and faithfulness to genuine human needs. The project explores creative ministry, professional burnout, moral pastoral leadership, and the dynamics of organizing local churches for public service and community relationships.

Countering gender stratification through preaching and shared praxis

Author
Foster C Dryden
Abstract
The author sought to demonstrate that a combination of shared praxis, pedagogy and preaching will counter gender stratification and will result in a new congregational vision and commitment to gender inclusivity. Seven one-hour classes were held in which the participants engaged in a critical reflection of their own praxis while reflecting on a series of five sermons dealing with cultural and theological assumptions toward gender stratification in regard to language, power and models for God. The majority of the participants concluded that gender equality is God's vision for humanity and provided concrete suggestions to be implemented in the congregation.

Catechetical and pastoral implications of a prayer book spirituality of anamnesis

Author
Marion Josiah Hatchett
Abstract
The thesis of this work is that the church has lost its memory of the tradition, separating itself from the praxis of a distinctive Christian lifestyle. The author builds a spirituality of anamnesis (remembrance) from which grows models for Christian education, pastoral care and piety. He presents research based on the documents of the Episcopal Church, the patristics, and contemporary sacramental and liturgical theology. His conclusion is that a return to the tradition is needed for the Episcopal Church, which he describes as "an emerging church.".

The role of bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Author
Gerald Stevenson Troutman
Abstract
The project confirms the thesis that there is a definite need for bishops in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. While the office of bishop is an ancient one for many churches, it is new to the Lutheran Church in America. The Lutheran Church has used this title only since 1980 in Atlanta. The thesis is confirmed through the use of three methods: historical; analytical; and practical. The project argues for maintaining the title and function of bishop in the new church for those who serve in a supervisory role with congregations and ministers. This stance is taken from a practical rather than ontological view of bishop. The Lutheran church believes that the office of bishop has a special function but not a special status. This project defines the function and justifies the status of bishop in the Lutheran Church.

A program of ministry to single adults within a congregation

Author
Lon T Clark
Abstract
The purpose of the project was to test a model for theological reflection with a group of single adults. The objective of the leader was to offer a program of ministry to single adults in which the participants could explore themselves and their condition of singlehood and could experience personal growth, wholeness, and creativity. The group met eight times for two hours. Each session was devoted to examining and reflecting theologically on a specific topic related to singlehood. The experience of the practicum provided a significant insight into the creation of a revised model of ministry to single adults.
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