Minnesota

Teaching church history in the local congregation

Author
Brent Klein D.Min.
Abstract
Using Church History: An Essential Guide, by Justo Gonzalez1 as the primary text and by means of a Bible study, study guides, and presentations on various historical events, over a ten-week period, the participants were led through a brief study of the twothousand-year history of the New Testament Church.

The purposes of the project are to 1) teach the participants significant events of the Church’s past beyond what they have learned from Acts, certain events of the Reformation era, and the events that have occurred in their lifetimes; 2) help them see that God has guided the events of history for the benefit of the Gospel and His Church; and 3) help them find assurance and guidance from how the Church has dealt with issues in the past as they deal with current issues in the Church.

On the parish level, the teaching of God’s Word and the Catechism is first and foremost. In addition to that, it is also worth considering teaching some church history to the laity. God’s people can derive guidance (and along with that, assurance) from the events of the Church’s past and the lives of Christians who came before.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? EFFECTIVE PREACHING IN A POST-CHURCH CULTURE

Author
Randall Dean Ahlberg D.Min.
Abstract
This project addressed the need for preaching principles that more effectively communicate to those living in the realities of our current cultural. In examining the sermons of the apostle Paul, it was evident that he significantly contextualized his message to his various audiences, demonstrating for all preachers the need to engage in not only good exegesis of the text but in good exegesis of the audience. The researcher attempted to gain a better understanding of the culture of the community surrounding his church in Andover, Minnesota and ways to communicate clearly to this culture. The primary tool used was a survey conducted at a community festival on church property. The survey was designed to measure the level of biblical knowledge of the participants and also to investigate the relationship between church attendance and the demonstrated levels of biblical knowledge. The assumption of the researcher was that preachers often assume their congregations know more than they do, and this assumption was proven to hold merit. Finally, in assessing the above information, a set of homiletical principles were developed that embrace both a commitment to biblical preaching and an awareness of the realities of post-church American culture. One of the conclusions of the author is that a neglected aspect of homiletics is our need to wrestle through the striking differences between oral and written communication styles. The preacher’s preparation must keep these dynamics in mind if he/she hopes to communicate the timeless truths of the Bible to a time-bound audience.

The development of public policy in Minnesota regarding AIDS: an investigation into the influence of the religious community

Author
Margaret J Thomas
Abstract
Religious organizations expend considerable effort in seeking to influence the procedures and policies of public entities. In response to the growing AIDS crisis the governor of Minnesota convened state leaders to develop a comprehensive statewide strategy. This process provided a case study for exploring: (1) the intent of the religious community in regard to an emerging social issue with significant public policy implications; and (2) the impact of the religious community on those who are responsible for developing and implementing public policy. Policy makers were virtually unaware of the efforts of the religious community, yet most of its positions resonated with the values of policy makers. The religious community must learn to rely less on denominationally based social pronouncements and legislative advocacy and more on efforts to forge a religious consensus that can be communicated to secular authorities.
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