Canada

Spiritual Formation in a Hong Kong Chinese Context: A Personal Journey, a Teachable Model Based on 1 John 2:12-14, and a Research Report

Author
Daniel Hung Fai Cho D.Min.
Abstract
In this research portfolio, the author describes Christian spiritual formation as a growth process with common stages and tasks with reference to 1 John 2:12-14 while acknowledging the uniqueness of spiritual experience for each individual Christian through spiritual autobiography. The common spiritual growth stages and tasks were developed as a model derived from an exposition with reference to 1 John 2:12-14. The uniqueness of Christian spiritual formation is acknowledged by a spiritual autobiography, which describes the author’s experiences with God and spiritual realities throughout his life. The universality of Christian spiritual growth is then suggested and illustrated through a model of spiritual growth from the passage. Lastly, a research project investigates the author’s teaching effectiveness in a Personal Growth course with ten students as participants in a Hong Kong (China) seminary using a combination of the two previous sections as teaching components in the journey of Christian spiritual formation. The findings and comments in this report bring to light some valuable teaching advice for Hong Kong seminarians concerning the duality of Christian spiritual formation. This report shows the effectiveness of incorporating the writing of a spiritual autobiography and exploring various learning tasks associated with 1 John 2:12-14, in that these were beneficial to the spiritual growth of Hong Kong seminarians.

An Exploration of Spiritual Formation to Increase Awareness and Attachment to God, Self and Others

Author
Susanne Ursula Baldeosingh D.Min.
Abstract
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this portfolio was to explore spiritual formation through lectio Divina, spiritual direction and a focus group to increase awareness of attachment to God, self and others. The portfolio includes a spiritual autobiography (Chapter 2) that traces my life story and God’s presence in it. This is a wonderful tool in becoming more spiritually aware of the many movements of God throughout one’s lifetime. This is followed by a spiritual formation model (Chapter 3) that helps believers to answer the question Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” Along with, “Who do you say that you are?” The model assists believers to explore their responses to these questions. Then a field research project (Chapter 4) is offered that tests the effectiveness of the model through the experience of five participants over a ten-day period.
The results of the project found in Chapter 4, points to a more secure attachment to God, self and others which was reported by four out of the five participants. Spiritual direction was well received by all participants. Participants also appreciated the mentoring provided and having the experience of someone listening with them for the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives. All participants felt they would have benefitted more if the project was longer in length. They suggested a time span of three months. Four of the five participants expressed a desire to continue studying using various components of the project. They stated it provided what was missing in their ability to increase attachment to God, self and others.

Becoming More Like Jesus: Spiritual Formation As the Key to Congregational Disciple-Making

Author
Alan Chee-Siang Goh D.Min.
Abstract

This research portfolio tracks the discoveries I have made in the Doctor of Ministry program about my faith journey, understanding of spiritual formation, and desire for greater efficacy in disciple-making.
In writing my spiritual autobiography, I was blessed to realize the many ways I have been transformed in my life since saying ‘yes’ to Jesus at the age of eleven. More significantly, there was born in me a deep desire to discover how God formed and transformed me. Fueled by the courses in the DMin program, this growing interest in spiritual formation led me to believe that the teaching and understanding of spiritual formation must become the priority of my thinking and practice of ministry moving forward.
In the second section of this portfolio, my understanding of the spiritual formation process developed into a manual for teaching a basic spiritual formation course for believers.
For the third section, in order to see if a persuasive case could be made for teaching spiritual formation basics to everyone in the congregation, a research project was undertaken to teach spiritual formation to the elders of my church. Ultimately, the findings of the research did support that teaching spiritual formation will lead believers to a more comprehensive understanding. As a result, I am persuaded to prioritize a basic spiritual formation course for every believer and that this is key to achieving greater effectiveness in our church’s disciple-making.

Laying a Foundation for Nurturing Experiential Communion with the Word of God for Soul Formation through Journaling and Inner Circle Relationships.

Author
Jeffrey William Roy Rev. D.Min.
Abstract
In this research portfolio, three projects form the basis in developing this new pathway to nurture formation. The author’s spiritual autobiography recounts his journey into two-way communion with the Word of God and gives readers opportunities to reflect accordingly. The AESA model (Awareness, Encounter, Surrender, Abide) is presented as a cyclical four-step process designed to help nurture experiential union and spiritual formation. This model incorporates the authors’ own experience, an analysis of how the Word of God is depicted by the Scriptures and in the writings of the Early Church Fathers, four existing contemplative models of formation, and the experiences of those who participated in his research project. The project tested follow up material designed to help people take home and form habits (Contemplative Prayer Journaling and Inner Circle Relationships) that would help them experience union with the Eternal Word of God throughout their day. The project found that these spiritual disciplines can be helpful in nurturing experience union with the Eternal Word of God throughout their day. Two months after the study twelve of the sixteen participants were journaling once a week and nine of the sixteen participants had established some form of weekly inner circle relationship with the desire to be more aware of God’s presence.

Developing Christlike Disciples with the Fourfold Spiritual Journey Model at Westwood Alliance Church

Author
Wai Fung Chow D.Min.
Abstract
In this research portfolio, the author explores spiritual formation as a deeper life journey to imitate Jesus Christ. The key question the research addressed is how Jesus’ followers in Westwood Alliance Church (hereafter called WAC) can walk into a deeper life journey with Jesus Christ. Four aspects of Jesus’ life on earth have been identified for the sake of living out the life modelled by Jesus Christ (Discipline, Surrender, Testimony, and Community). The author examined the question through four separate yet related dimensions: (i) the author’s spiritual autobiography into the Life of Discipline, in which the author confirmed his vocational calling from God; (ii) the process of recovering from grief into the Life of Surrender, in which the author realized the valuable transformation in his life after his wife’s passing; (iii) the Fourfold Spiritual Journey model into the Life of Testimony, in which the author tried to formulate a deeper life practice in WAC; (iv) and the field research project into the Life of Community, in which the author practised early morning prayer with a small group of people. The conclusion is that walking a spiritual journey with Jesus Christ in WAC is practical and achievable through practising spiritual disciplines to achieve the awareness of God’s presence in one’s daily life, abiding in Christ to achieve a lifestyle of surrender, sharing one’s testimony to equip other disciples, and reaching out the community of faith to serve one another.

Teaching church leaders the art of cultural engagement in a postmodern milieu

Author
Stephen R Harper
Abstract
This project explores the question of why there is a disconnect between the church and the larger Canadian culture. To do this, the project will explore the shift that has occurred in western society as it has moved from a modern to a postmodern cultural expression. The project is supported by statistical analysis, the evaluation of polling data, and a personal lifestyle inventory of each participant, which demonstrates the disconnect and cultural divide between the two entities. The analysis of this information will be disseminated and discussed. The result of this process provides personal insight and some practical solutions to effectively engage culture in the twenty-first century.

A Mentors' Manual for Leadership Formation for Postulants for Ordination in the Anglican Diocese of Toronto

Author
Heather K McCance
Abstract
Churches in Canada increasingly turn to clergy as leaders--not just as spiritual guides--in today's post-Christendom environment. The Anglican Diocese of Toronto identifies leadership as an important skill set for priests, yet there are few opportunities for postulants preparing for ordination to develop these skills. The author created a leadership development curriculum for experienced priests to use as mentors in working with postulants. Evaluation of the curriculum revealed that postulants expanded their leadership skills and grew in their intentionality for continued growth in leadership in the future.
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