Canada

The Mid-Faith Crisis: Introducing Evangelicals to the Dark Night of the Soul

Author
Thomas Sweeney M.A.
Abstract
The mid-faith crisis is a qualitative shift in our faith experience as God weans us of the spiritual delights lavished upon us in the initial stages of faith and leads us on an inner journey of awareness, repentance, and surrender. This typically occurs in middle age and often in the midst of successful ministry, so it is often misdiagnosed as falling away from faith rather than progressing in faith. Such strong medicine is necessary because it addresses a serious affliction: the false self which has smuggled itself unseen into the Christian life and forms the great obstacle between us and God as well as us and those around us. Through the mid-faith crisis, God invites us to lay aside the false self and its tools for navigating life, accept who we really are, and to grow ever more into our identity as the beloved of the Father. While the mid-faith crisis is divinely initiated and sustained, there is room for human participation in the work.
This research portfolio explores the author’s own mid-faith crisis, proposes a model for the phenomenon and reports the results of an action research project to develop and deliver a curriculum that introduces conservative Evangelicals to the mid-faith crisis. It concludes by identifying further potential development of the model and the curriculum.

The Baptized Community: Community Formation as Seen through Anglican Baptismal Ecclesiology
and the Liturgical Practice of Morning Prayer

Author
Kyle Norman D.Min.
Abstract
Beginning with The Book of Common Prayer, the first version of which was published in 1549, Anglicans have mediated their spirituality through participation in a common spiritual life. This is to say, formation toward Christlikeness is not to be understood as an individualized process whereby the individual grows in Christlikeness in an isolated and privatized manner. Rather, formation toward Christlikeness is a Spirit-led process that primarily occurs within the community of faith. The baptismal community is the very context of Christlike formation. This portfolio looks at communal formation through three, integrated components. Firstly, communal formation, along with its various components and nuances, will be described through an appeal to the Anglican baptismal liturgy. Secondly, scenes from the author’s own autobiography will serve to illustrate how communal formation may be practically experienced. Lastly, the author’s own research into the practice of Morning Prayer will highlight the importance of shared liturgy within communal formation. The portfolio argues that one is not formed individually, rather one is called to participate in the formation of the community. This is seen as occurring through immersion in shared liturgy, embodied action, and evangelistic mission.

The Impact of a Staff Performance Management System on Performance Outcomes and Employee Commitment in a Private, Christian, Higher Education Institution

Author
Janis Lynn Ryder D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis explored performance management in a private, Christian, Canadian, higher education institution. A Model for Effective Performance Management was developed which served as a framework for a participatory action research project that piloted a staff performance review process and tool aimed at improving employee performance and organizational commitment of university staff employees. Seven university departments were part of the pilot project which included participating in supervisor training, testing a new performance review process and tool, and providing post-pilot feedback.
Post-pilot online survey results and interviews with leaders demonstrated a higher rate of completed performance reviews, increased competency and comfort level of supervisors/appraisers to lead performance review conversations, and increased employee commitment and performance resulting from the performance review experience.
There are opportunities for HR professionals, churches, and para-church organizations to use and benefit from this research and the Model for Effective Performance Management.

Towards a Reformed Evangelical Program of Spiritual Formation at Ryle Seminary, Ottawa

Author
Shaun Minett Turner D.Min.
Abstract
In this research portfolio the author seeks to articulate a form of reformed-evangelical spiritual formation and apply it to ministry formation training in both military and civilian ministry training contexts. The author sees spiritual formation as stripping off the old self and putting on the new self by looking to Jesus. Research is presented which shows that this formation often leads to greater resilience in ministry and life, as well as an increased awareness of, and dependence on, God’s sovereign grace, leading to a deeper sense of discerning God’s voice every day. The author used three parts: a personal spiritual autobiography, a model of spiritual formation in the reformed-evangelical tradition, and a field research project using appreciative inquiry to develop an integrated spiritual formation program at a reformed-evangelical seminary in Ottawa, Canada. The author was successful in using an appreciative approach to engage the students of the Seminary to design a program that was accepted by an expert panel of school administration, denominational leadership, and student leadership. This research portfolio provides both a practical model of spiritual formation in the reformed-evangelical tradition and a means of tailoring this model, through appreciative inquiry, to specific contexts.

The 21st Century Spiritual Disciplines of Chinese Pastors in Metropolitan Toronto

Author
Wai Kei Lee D.Min.
Abstract
This study is intended to explore the importance of spiritual discipline of pastors regarding their ministry and inner spiritual life. Without building a strong relationship with Heavenly Father, one cannot easily stand firm when facing the challenges from work or temptations from the world especially in this postmodern 21st century metropolitan Toronto. Interviews with pastors who are held highly in reputation and have long lasting ministry experiences have been conducted. Their rich and real life sharings definitely will serve as a precious resource for this dissertation. A list of spiritual discipline practices that are relevant and suitable for current 21st century setting at metropolitan Toronto will be provided at final.

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.
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