Vocation

Lives Aglow: A Study of the Vocational Lives and Testimonies of Congregational Leaders at First United Methodist Church

Author
William Cato D.Min.
Abstract
This project addressed a lack of opportunities for Christian vocational discernment at First United Methodist Church in Arkadelphia, Arkansas (FUMCA). The research question asked what effect, if any, the public speech of leaders would have on the vocational self-understanding of congregants. The hypothesis postulated that the public testimonies of congregational leaders, coupled with a sermon series, would produce an increase in the percentage of congregants who identify as called to participate in God’s redemptive work. While the hypothesis could not be substantiated, the project produced vocational agitation among congregants. Results indicated the need for follow-up measures to sustain lasting change.

FORMING GOOD PREACHERS: THE IMPORTANCE OF INTEGRATING LEADING ELEMENTS OF THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF PRIESTLY FORMATION FOR GOOD PREACHING

Author
Gregg Michael Caggianelli D.Min.
Abstract
Can the integration of leading elements in the four dimensions of priestly formation contribute to the formation of good preachers? Building on the premise that a good preacher is one who is not only competent in the skills needed for good preaching, but is also a person who authentically lives in a way that gives witness to the Gospel preached, the author searches for how these preachers can be formed for our age.

Chapter One explores the intrinsic connection between God’s Word and God’s deeds as the pattern for authentic preaching. The investigation asks whether good seminary formation contributes to the formation of good preachers.

Chapter Two highlights the vision of St. Dominic and introduces the idea of the preacher’s formation using the work of Humbert of Romans. Noting similar patterns in St. Charles Borromeo and St. Vincent de Paul, this chapter leads into the reforms called for from Vatican II until the present. The Church’s formation documents become the foundation for generating an extensive list of specific formation elements identified for development in a candidate during seminary formation.

Chapter Three builds various assessments tools used in the pastoral appropriation, seeking to identify and highlight important formation elements from the four dimensions of priestly formation that contribute to the formation of good preachers.

Chapter Four extensively explores the qualitative and quantitative results, highlighting the significant correlation between the integration of leading elements of priestly formation and improved preaching quality.

Chapter Five suggests five ways for sharing this project’s findings, hoping that this thesis will allow seminary formators to accompany developing preachers in their understanding of how personal reflection across all four dimensions of their seminary formation contributes to their development as preachers able to not only preach well but live as witnesses to the Gospel.

Work Perspectives, The Sacred/Secular Divide, and Workplace-Related Preaching, Equipping, and Church Support

Author
Joy P. Dahl D.Min.
Abstract
This study explored perspectives of work and workers, as well as potential connections between these perspectives and a lack of workplace-related preaching, equipping, and support provided by the church to congregants. This research, founded on a biblical theology of work, identifies implications for understanding church dynamics, and for dismantling beliefs and practices upholding the unbiblical sacred/secular divide.

The research engaged two groups within one church: pastors/paid church staff and congregants. The survey focused on: (1) value of work inside versus outside the church; (2) value of workers inside versus outside the church; (3) importance of work-related topics for preaching, equipping, and support within the church; and (4) adequacy of pastor/staff understanding of non-church workplaces and their ability to help congregants address workplace issues. This Doctor of Ministry project represents a unique study which evaluates perspectives of church workers and non-church workers within one church body regarding a primary area of everyday life often unaddressed or under-addressed by the church.

Two descriptive surveys, one for each group, garnered a 69.01% response rate from 71 pastors/staff, and a 9.62% response rate from 5,113 congregants. The surveys gathered quantitative responses, except for two qualitative responses regarding workplace demographics (for congregants only) which assisted the church in understanding the makeup of its non-church workers. The results of the surveys revealed that both pastors/staff and congregants within this church placed similar, high value on church and non-church work and workers. However, these perspectives did not translate into pastors/staff attributing high importance to work-related topics within church practices when compared to other topics. Additionally, both groups affirmed an inadequate understanding by pastors/staff of non-church workplaces and the daily issues congregants face.

The final chapter includes conclusions of the study and implications for future research. It also provides recommendations of potential next steps for the church.

Formed in the itinerancy : shaped as disciples, authorized as pastors, and sent as missionaries in the Susquehanna Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

Author
James Patrick Bohanan
Abstract
This project focuses on itinerancy in The United Methodist Church as a practice, in the life of the writer, and in the stories of multiple clergy interviewed and surveyed. The narrative research concentrates on the Susquehanna Conference of The United Methodist Church, though it also includes clergy from eleven other annual conferences. Five bishops and one general church executive were interviewed. The writer offers a theology of the itinerancy and encourages itinerant clergy to contemplate how they have been shaped as disciples, authorized as pastors, and sent as missionaries in the context of their itinerancy.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Vocation as a Focus for Mission Effectiveness with Mid-Level Leaders at a Catholic University

Author
Mark J. Laboe D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis-project proposes that the work of Catholic mission effectiveness at a large, diverse Catholic university in the United States can be enriched through a rediscovery and re-founding of the theological notion of vocation, which can serve as a distinguishing contribution of Catholic education in an increasingly pluralistic society. Furthermore, focusing attention on the important role and vocation of mid-level leaders, who often hold a significant influence on organizational culture, can be a strategic focus for the work of advancing a culture of vocation as well as sustaining the institution's founding charism and mission in the face of the diminishing influence of the sponsoring religious community.

Vocation for mission : understanding how work is integral to God's mission to the world

Author
Richard M Vise
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how congregants in leadership roles understand their work as integral to God's mission in the world. A qualitative research study was designed in which the areas of literature on a Christian theology of vocation and employee engagement were reviewed. The researcher discovered that congregants described their lives and their work as integral to God's mission in the world. They also described the effect of their working environments on that belief and the fruitful work that emerged from that belief.

Called to duty shaping the call to ministry at the Word Church in Cleveland, Ohio

Author
Willie R Patton
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to impact the knowledge, attitude, and actionof parishoners regarding their call to ministry at The Word Church in Cleveland, OH through participation in an eight week seminar on call to ministry. The project design included administrationof pre-text and post-test five point Likert scale assessment to capture the knowledge, attitude and action of participants on the subject matter and evaluation of the study. The results of the eight-week seminar revealed that there was a major impact ranging from +0.79 - +1.05 regarding the participants' knowledge, attitude, and action towards their personal call to ministry in the Black Church tradition.

The Application of Spiritual Gifts Training as a Tool in Team Leadership Development for Bi-Vocational Ministry at Light Church of Federal Way

Author
John Y Kamiya
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to build an effective lay leadership team for bi-vocational ministry at Light Church of Federal Way, Washington. With the application of Spiriutal Gifts training as a tool, a group of lay leaders will have identified their gift(s) to serve in the minstry. The purpose of the project is to teach, inspire, and form a team of leaders that will hsare in the minstry with the bi-vocational pastro to meet its potential in reaching to the members, as well as to the community of unbelievers.

Living Our Strengths for Ministry

Author
Brian C Smith
Abstract
In response to the vocation of all Christians to share in Christ's ministry, the "Living Our Strengths for Ministry" project utilizes a workshop with participant action research methods to help participants identify and integrate their gifts for ministry. The workshop incorporates collaborative learning through a mini-lecture, individual reflection, small group discussion, role play, and focus group discussion. Participants explore their results from Gallup's StrengthsFinder assessment from a Christian perspective. Measurement tools include StrengthsFinder results, repeated Likert-style questionnaires, and semi-structured interviews. The research shows that a strengths-based workshop positively influences participants' ability to identify and integrate their gifts for ministry.

Made to make a difference: ministry formation and the holistic redemptive vision of the kingdom of God

Author
Lance Blair Dixon
Abstract
Building on the work of Harv Powers and Rod Cooper in redemptive leadership, this thesis-project seeks to clarify the biblical meaning of redemption and provide a model of discipleship that takes into account the full implications of participating in Christ's transformative work in the world. The goal of designing a holistic discipleship model is to enable Christians to understand more fully and practice more intentionally the true nature of God's reign which we have been called to witness and serve, which is the redemption of all creation. The chapters build toward the development of a curriculum designed to offer every disciple a deeper biblical understanding of God's reign, a clear process of growth consistent with this holistic redemptive biblical vision, and a set of right practices to follow in each dimension of growth, regardless of the participant's particular sense of vocation. By building the curriculum on two influential ethical models of character formation, participants were given the tools to identify ways of deepening their commitment to Christ, growing in their conviction of the kingdom of God, cultivating a more compassionate heart, and developing the kind of Christ-like character that would bear the fruit of the kingdom in their daily lives.
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