United States

MULTIETHNIC AND MISSIONAL: GOD’S HEART FOR AN INTEGRATED AND DIVERSE CHURCH

Author
Justin Hiebert D.Min.
Abstract
The American church is largely segregated and homogenous. This has not only stunted the growth of the church but led to an ineffective and limited mission vision. The contemporary American church must reclaim the biblical mandate to be both ethnically diverse and missionally minded. Through a qualitative research methodology this research project focuses on creating a healthy and sustainable multiethnic identity and leadership structure. Through interviewing and visiting some of the leading multiethnic churches of the Central Valley of California, the researcher lays out a clear understanding and argument for multiethnic churches. This paper examines the book of Acts, interviewing insights from key pastoral leaders, and provides a key table and summary of actionable next steps.
The insights from the book of Acts reveals that God’s original intent for the church is to be both multiethnic and missional. Contemporary literature highlights the necessary traits and qualities for healthy and sustainable leadership. Finally, interviews with leaders engaged in ministry show the foundational attitudes and characteristics leaders must possess to lead their churches through a successful transition to multiethnic.
For leaders engaging in multiethnic ministry, there are five key leadership characteristics that they must practice: humility, personal holistic health, community engagement, an intentionality in seeking out different voices, and a celebration of diversity.

A Phenomenology of Authentic Leadership

Author
Joshua James Tilley D.Min.
Abstract
Objective: To grasp the characteristics and essence of authentic leadership as seen and experienced through the lives of those who have served under and/or over those they perceive and identify as “authentic” or “high quality” leaders.

Method: A literary review and a biblical review were conducted to establish the current scholarship related to authentic leadership. A new phenomenological study was conducted in October of 2018. 12 individuals were interviewed either in person, by phone, or via a video chat.
Results: The result was a literary study, a biblical review, and a new phenomenological study of authentic leadership.

Conclusions: Through the phenomenology and subsequent qualitative research, the researcher came to the conclusion that authentic leadership is provided, felt, and acted upon in different ways by different people in different cultures, but the one universal essence of authentic leadership is the paradox of “relief” and “peace” preceded by a sense of “anxiety” and “pressure,” which is provoked within the follower by the leader. Trust is built through the process.
A model of existential peace is offered to demonstrate this meaning, but no model for creating an authentic leadership is presented as a phenomenology does not provide the groundwork needed to establish such a theory. All cultures represent leadership in different ways, so further research would need to be conducted to create such a model.

Narratives Church: A Missional Church Planting Path for Cultivating a Unified Theological Vision

Author
Mark Miller D.Min.
Abstract
This research project focused on the development of a unified theological vision for the missional movement. The researcher conducted a thorough investigation of Scripture and current biblical material in order to discern the barriers existing within the missional movement. The researcher looked at key areas that shape the missional church planting movement: leadership development, theological interpretation of the early church, church planting methods and practice, ecclesiology, and the application and interpretation of Ephesians 4:11. Four church planting organizations participated: North American Mission Board, Acts 29 Network, Association of Related Churches, and Converge Worldwide. A questionnaire given to each movement revealed that there is indeed a disconnect from one movement to the next in terms of areas mentioned above.

Awana Together: Empowering Parents as Spiritual Mentors for Their Children

Author
Sara-Jane Heacox Sosa D.Min.
Abstract
The post-Christian culture in the United States presents a significant challenge to the spiritual growth of adults and children. At Plymouth Covenant Church, ministry leaders recognized that young parents often lacked a biblical foundation. Many did not feel competent to lead their children spiritually. These parents needed a vibrant personal faith as well as good role models. As a result, ministry leaders designed a more effective way to empower parents as spiritual mentors for their children. They created a new ministry that would provide personal faith development for parents, a supportive faith community, family-focused programming, and solid biblical teaching. This new ministry was a family version of Awana that they called Awana Together.

The problem that this project addressed was the need for a family ministry model at Plymouth Covenant Church that fostered a partnership between the church and families that empowered parents as spiritual mentors for their children. It used an intrinsic case study approach to evaluate Plymouth Covenant’s unique ministry, Awana Together, to determine if it provided a pathway for a better partnership between the home and the church in empowering parents as spiritual mentors. The research included evaluations of biblical passages and current scholarship, surveys of past and present Awana Together participants, focus group discussions with ministry leaders, and in-depth questionnaire responses from three different families. The research revealed that Awana Together was successfully designed to meet the goal of empowering parents as spiritual mentors for their children.

Preaching APEST: Observing a sermon series, based on Ephesians 4, as a means of beginning to plant a vision in a local congregation

Author
David Taylor Averill D.Min.
Abstract
A prior study of a congregation in Winter Haven, Florida revealed an overlap in perceived, ideal qualities of clergy and lay leaders of the church. However, these qualities were limited to exclusively shepherding and teaching roles. Through preaching a 5-week sermon series, this project began to shape a vision of shared ministry and leadership in this local church among clergy and laity alike. The series used the APEST model of Ephesians 4, taken from the missional hermeneutic of Alan Hirsch. The project assessed the emergence of an inchoate understanding of the missional imperative through ethnographic data, gathered in a sermon roundtable, and surveys collected congregationally.

Being The Church For Others: Ethnographic Practice as Public Witness

Author
Brian Stephen Janssen D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to explore the place of listening within the practice of being the church in a rapidly changing suburban context. To do this, the use of ethnographic practices, particularly in-depth interviews, were used to demonstrate that listening is a way to show the community, in which the church is a guest, that it is loved. The church encounters people who are moving into the neighborhood in a variety of ways. As people move here, they add gifts, talents, and resources to the community. It is incumbent upon the church to demonstrate a willingness to be welcomed into this new context which is emerging

An Experience in Small Group Spiritual Direction at McGuire United Methodist Church

Author
Cynthia Frances Johnson Hooton D.Min.
Abstract
This research project studied the benefit of developing a Christian formation process at McGuire United Methodist Church in Monroe, Louisiana, focused on developing intimacy with God and the community of faith through small group spiritual direction; the personal prayer practices of journaling, praying the Psalms, Lectio Divina, and centering prayer; and, St. Benedict's monastic virtues of stability, obedience and conversion of life. The flow of spiritual direction included group contemplative silence, a time for each participant to share their journey into God, and a commitment to listen, reflect, and respond to the other group members’ narratives of their journey into God.

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.

探討保羅在哥林多教會的衝突處理與權柄建立:
榮耀神的教牧實踐
An exploration from the Corinthian church on conflict resolution and authority building:
A God-glorifying pastoral practice.

Author
MANJUNG ABRAHAM TSAI D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis explores the relationship of pastoral authority and conflict resolution in a way that will glorify God, along with the process of building up such pastoral authority. Paul’s letters to the Corinthian Church contain specific events that provide realistic and historical material on which to base theological concepts regarding the resolution of conflict and the exercise of pastoral authority. Therefore, the researcher utilizes the perspective of equal and unequal powers in an organizational structure to analyze the conflicts in the Corinthian church. The investigation of these Scriptures is based on the presupposition that pastoral authority in conflict resolution needs to attain a certain level of competency and practice in three specific fields: adhering to pure biblical positions, pursuing mature spiritual character, and possessing excellent leadership skills.

Improving Accompaniment Practices by Roman Catholic Chaplains for Native Americans in a Health Care Setting

Author
Kathleen M. Van Duser D.Min.
Abstract
The project seeks to improve accompaniment practices by chaplains in the health care setting for those ministering to Indigenous people. A brief history of Indigenous people in North America and seven major beliefs common to all North American Indigenous people are offered that are meaningful to chaplains. Interviews are provided with Indigenous people, medical personnel, and chaplains to learn how to improve the accompaniment of Indigenous people. Multicultural, cross-cultural, and intercultural relationships, as well as how to learn to cross over from one culture to another are discussed. Plural spiritualities are also addressed. Steps are provided to distribute this information to medical personnel and chaplains.
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