Rooted and reaching : liturgically formed for mission

Miriam A. Barnes
This is a project about Second Reformed Church in Zeeland, Michigan at the intersection of missiology, ecclesiology, and leadership—the three main subjects of the cohort, Leading with God Ahead of Us. This project explores the liturgy of Second Church as a dynamic influence on the church in mission. The rhythms of our weekly Sunday morning liturgy are formative for the people of Second Reformed Church. Not only are people rooted and grounded in God’s presence through Word and Sacrament, but they are also sent out from worship to engage specific places in God’s world using their gifts and passions to serve others.

The practice of ethnography reveals the ways the liturgy challenges, confirms, and inspires the people of Second Church to engage in mission. The liturgy of Second Reformed Church provides a framework for that service and engagement, whether at home, work, serving on a non-profit board, direct community service, or financial generosity.

The connection between liturgy and mission is not new for Second Reformed Church, yet this focus comes at a critical moment in Second’s story. The building project (completed in 2018) included vision for a different kind of community engagement that we have not yet embraced due to a pastoral crisis followed by a global pandemic. In this season of re-emerging from a global pandemic, Second is poised to explore critical questions around mission. By shaping a house of language around mission, this project demonstrates how liturgy helps Second Church to be “rooted and reaching” in Zeeland and beyond.

Embodied Spiritual Practices for Brown and Black Bodies Exploring Sabbath Rest

April Rae Gutierrez
“Embodied Spiritual Practices for Brown and Black Bodies Exploring Sabbath Rest” addresses spiritual formation, discussing an approach to Sabbath Rest for healing and restoration that is countercultural on personal and societal levels. Through a retreat, participants engaged in embodied spiritual practices that promote rest as a tool for spiritual formation and transformation that is rooted in decolonizing theology and spiritual practices. Working in collaboration with The Board of Young Peoples Ministry and the Hispanic /Latino Ministry of the Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church, the retreat model was reviewed by the committees for use in the work of spiritual formation for Black and Latinx Young Adults. The implementation of this project and retreat shows that culturally relevant spiritual practices that honor Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) stories and spiritual practices may deepen the encounter with God and relationships with participants within the retreat setting.

Seeing and believing : using visual art in spiritual formation in the local congregation

Philip G Schairbaum
The purpose of this project is to explore how visual art can help individuals and local congregations move in some new directions as they seek to reclaim the essence of their calling--namely, the life-long process of growth toward the fullness of Christ.

Part One is a general inquiry into the place of aesthetics in the Christian life. Its conclusion is that art is a gift which God has given to humankind in order to glorify God and to refresh and strengthen the Christian life. A case is made that we are called to seek out and involve ourselves with works of art as they inform us theologically, enrich us spiritually, and serve as channels through which God may speak.

Part Two addresses how spiritual formation takes place in individuals and congregations. The work of Urban T. Holmes and Corrine Ware is used as a foundation for identifying different types of spirituality and for exploring how visual art can assist people in their spiritual journeys. The spiritual discipline of "Lectio Divina" is re-defined and re-interpreted as "Visio Divina" for use with visual art.

Part Three is a presentation and analysis of actual experiences individuals and the congregation at large in Charlevoix have had using visual art in religious education, corporate worship, personal prayer, and outreach--categories that parallel the spiritual components of Holmes' Circle of Sensibility. Some examples are offered as to how visual art has been used to enhance spiritual formation in the First Congregational UCC in Charlevoix.

This project gives evidence that utilizing visual art in more intentional ways will not only bring a renewed sense of spiritual vitality to those individuals who engage it directly, but can move whole congregations through its power to awaken, inform, illuminate, and deepen our life in the Spirit.

Celebrating diversity : a seminar for the local church using Jungian psychological type theory to promote tolerance of divergent opinions on non-essentials of the faith

Philip Verne De Jonge
This project is a series of nine seminar study units designed to provide the information local church members need to understand and appreciate diversity of opinion on non-essentials of the faith which results from personality differences as described by Jungian psychological type theory. Each unit contains a group discussion guide.

The first three study units present a biblical perspective on diversity of opinion in the church. Unit one is an investigation of diversity in the New Testament church designed to demonstrate that a romanticized conception of the early years of the Christian era as a time of uncomplicated unity and undisturbed unanimity of opinion is inconsistent with the testimony of the biblical material. Unit two is an examination of New Testament unity "in Christ." Unit three is a presentation of the strategies, attitudes, and skills necessary to promote the celebration of diversity of opinion in the local church.

The second set of three study units presents a psychological explanation for diversity in the church based on the personality type theory of Carl G. Jung. Unit four contains an introduction to Jung and his type theory, style, and religious attitude. Unit five is a detailed explication of psychological type. Unit six offers descriptions of the sixteen psychological types isolated by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

The final three study units present applications of psychological type theory to three areas of significant diversity in the church. Unit seven addresses differences in worship and prayer styles. Unit eight investigates different approaches to biblical interpretation. Unit nine describes different concepts of ministry according to a four part Sloat-Bailey ministry gird and demonstrates a correspondence between these divisions and the functions of type theory.

Anglos and Hispanics working together : an expression of the biblical vision of the church

John C Hutt
Because of the tremendous changes that are occurring specifically in Holland, Michigan, and in the U.S.A. in general with the continued growth and immigration of Hispanics, it is the intent of this project to look at ways that Anglos and Hispanics can work together most effectively in order to minister to this changing and integrated community. This is accomplished by examining Roman Catholic and Protestant attempts at Hispanic ministry in the U.S.A. in the past; by looking at the Biblical vision for a multiethnic church; and, finally, by showing what approach(es) would be necessary for an effective bicultural and bilingual ministry between Fourteenth street and Iglesia Hispana Christian Reformed Churches in Holland, Michigan.

Chapter one shows the changes taking place in our society and describes the characteristics of the Hispanics who are changing the fabric of our society by presenting the demographics of the Hispanics in the U.S.A in general, and, more specifically, in Holland, Michigan.

Chapter Two discusses an historical overview of the attempts by the Roman catholic and the Protestant Churches to minister to the Hispanics in the U.S.A.

Chapter Three attempts to argue for the multiethnic nature of the Christian Church as it is described by Saint Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians.

Chapter Four provides a brief history and description of the respective ministries at Fourteenth street and Iglesia Hispana Christian Reformed Churches in Holland, Michigan.

Chapter Five describes two different approaches that can be used for bilingual and bicultural ministries, namely, multiethnic and multicongregational.

The conclusion attempts to describe how these two different approaches can be applied in a bilingual and bicultural ministry between Fourteenth Street and Iglesia Hispana Christian Reformed Churches in Holland, Michigan.

Coping with divorce : effective program methods

Stanley Hagemeyer
This project is designed to provide the information local church leaders need to carry out ministries to assist those coping with divorce.

Chapter One presents a dynamic theoretical model for understanding the process of divorce to help shed light on the opportunities for ministry. The model ties together the events in divorce with the affective grief cycle. This synthesis shows how the emotional stages can be seen responding to specific losses involved.

Chapter Two provides components and strategies for effective programs addressed to the needs identified. These are drawn from research in thesocial sciences and illustrated by examples from selected programs in use across the country. The methods favored are also shown to be expressed in biblical models of ministry.

Chapter Three describes a variety of forms for this ministry that would be appropriate for different communities. Guidelines for selection and training of lay ministers are provided. Detailed learning objectives to guide the ministry are suggested.

This project shows that a specialized divorce ministry is, indeed, worth doing. Measurable results can be expected. Effective methods are available.

An essay on the Particular Synod of Michigan (Reformed Church in America) : its history, present identity and program, and its future

Howard D Schipper
Jesus was explicit when he promised to build the church upon the rock of Peter's confession, but He never spelled out how the organizational superstructure was to be formed. Peter and the the apostles, along with the expanding followers of Jesus, seemed simply to live out the early church history, building structure as it was required. These many centuries later, the church consequently displays a variety of forms and structures by which it organizes its authority and mission.

The basic patterns of church polity, however, may be reduced to three: congregational, Presbyterian, and episcopal. The derivatives are many, and have often been the painful result of needless controversy.

Not all the battles the church has engaged in were theo1ogical ones. Frequently divisions occurred or became entrenched over the preservation of a socio-political system or someone's personal position. Such perversity of the people who led and shaped the church over the years should not surprise us who hold are formation concept of depravity's permeation, I suppose. What we are about to find is the story of the ordinary people and the ordinary development of an extraordinary, divine institution: the church.

An integration of theological and psychosocial method for interpreting congregational development

John W Tien
This thesis is based upon the hypothesis that there is validity in integrating theological and psychosocial methodology. A further hypothesis is that there is an identifiable developmental process which is applicable to corporate as well as to individual growth and development. Assuming that such an identifiable developmental process exists, it then follows that this process can be used as both a descriptive and prescriptive tool to determine whether or not a specific corporate group in the Christian community, together with its leadership, is developing in a wholesome way. The application which is addressed in this project is to the community of the congregation. The project is itself an integration of previous years of study and learning units for the Doctor of Ministry degree. The practical application of the stated hypothesis is to the development of the congregational life of First Reformed Church of Grandville, Michigan from 1977 to 1986.

Seeking God's plan : a model for implementing biblical teachings on marriage, divorce, and remarriage in the Tyrone Covenant Presbyterian Church

Robert Lee Berkey
This book is a resource for pastors, ruling elders, and laypersons to aid in understanding biblical teaching s on marriage, divorce, and remarriage and in the application of these teachings. It includes an assessment of the church's ministry.

Part One, Marriage: A Life long Bond, reaffirms the biblical concept that marriage is an unbreakable bond.

Part Two, Let's Talk About It, is eleven brochures applying this concept.

Part Three, Compassion and Command, is a study of the ministry of the church to those who have struggled with this concept.

Marriage is a lifelong bond. In theory no less than liturgy Protestants attest the permanency of the marriage relationship. The marriage service has often included the familiar phrase "so long as we both shall live." Premarital counseling , at least premarital counseling rooted in the solid biblical tradition, stresses the indissolubility of this union. In practice, however, this principle has suffered.

The servant's community : a study of the development of a servant style ministry in the inner city

George G. Beukema
The purpose of the project was to research, report, and evaluate a new low-cost, shared leadership, servant style ministry that has been developed on the west side of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The project report describes the historical and sociological context for the ministry, defines the biblical concept of "servanthood" and its theological implications for ministry, assesses the needs and resources of the target community, and evaluates the ministry to date as to its feasibility of application to other urban areas.
The project described in this paper is limited to the John Ball Park area on the near west side of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The emerging inner city congregation, the Servant's Community, provides the congregational context. The biblical theme of servanthood provides the focal point for mission strategy and reflective analysis.
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