Bible--Acts

EXAMINATION OF THE USE OF FIRST-PERSON NARRATIVE PREACHING IN THE PUBLIC WORSHIP SERVICE

Author
Brian Olson D.Min.
Abstract
This project set out to examine and evaluate the use of first-person narrative as a possible alternative option to be included in a regular rotation for preaching in a public worship service. It also set out to examine the process of developing the sermon. It also set out to determine if it can be used to effectively communicate the biblical message to a post-Christian, entertainment-oriented culture without compromising its faithfulness to the message of Scripture?

The research was done on the Biblical and theological foundations of preaching to accomplish these goals. An evaluation of current literature on the subject was conducted. A system of evaluating existing sermons was developed and implemented. A sermon was produced and presented in the first-person narrative mode. Survey feedback was received from individuals who were present for the sermon. The surveys from the sermon produced for the project and the earlier evaluated sermons were processed to reach the goals and determine the proper steps for moving forward.

A key understanding derived from the study was that first-person narrative preaching is often mistakenly viewed as lightweight storytelling. The reality is that it is more work than a traditional sermon. It requires that same work for those sermons, but it also requires a heightened understanding of the Biblical story's cultural, sociological, and personal attributes.

Also learned was the importance of story as a means to communicate truth. We teach theology to children through stories, and these same stories can teach the truth to adults. In the west, we have become convinced that science and facts are the most important things and that these are the way to communicate truth. But in much of the world and history, story was the primary means of communicating truth.

FINDING NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
THROUGH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY

Author
Carolyn Fenner Moss D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry project explores the relationship between Christian community and new technologies in the context of a small, rural, family based Presbyterian congregation. The COVID-19 pandemic introduced technology usage to Slippery Rock Presbyterian Church. This paper describes the demographic, economic and historical context of the congregation. Then, it explores definitions of Christian community, with an emphasis on boundaries that shape Christian communities. It continues considering Old and New Testament Scriptures as they relate to community formation. Finally, the paper presents a project that examined the potential formation of Christian community using a devotional study presented on a Facebook group during Advent 2021.

La teología de conflicto del Apóstol Pablo : ¿como la historia del Apóstol Pablo camino a Damasco ha influenciado al ministerio pastoral en Boston, MA?

Author
Isaías Rivera
Abstract
How should the experience of the road to Damascus be understood, mainly in terms of a "change", a "variation", and "a shift" or "a designation"? and how it directly influences the life and thought of the Apostle Paul. That is, it should be seen as (1) a radical change in thought, perspective, commitments, and practice, involving an overt or subconscious break with one's past identity (ie, "conversion"), (2) a new perception and a marked change in form or appearance, but not necessarily a break with the past (ie "transformation"), (3) a change in outlook and practice, but without any distancing from the past (ie "alternating" ), or simply (4 ) a call to a new career or a particular pursuit (ie "call")?

To what extent has the connection between the Pneumatologically experience of the Apostle Paul and the modern exponents of the preaching of the gospel been lost? Exploring the different alternatives that the text offers, I want to establish why it is important for today to rescue the reality of the importance of how the lack of understanding of this encounter between the Apostle Paul and the neonatological experience experienced by the Apostle, influenced the rest of his religious life, and marked a before and after.

Dwelling in the Word and in the World: Missional Engagement Through Storytelling

Author
John Foster Magnuson D.Min.
Abstract
The practice of Church mission engagement within a culture of specialization, individuality, and volunteerism has created the opportunity for the North American Protestant church to narrate mission through an identity and story of the individual. However, through the practice of reading scripture and reflecting alongside storytelling, a more robust missional identity can be found within the church. This identity through storytelling moves from viewing church members as an autonomous individual into seeing both church members and neighbors as necessary members of community, together participating in God’s mission in the world through companionship with God and one another. This work moves from a historical background of mission work within a local congregation to then explore the theological basis for connecting storytelling alongside biblical engagement in congregational mission. As a result of the project, a tool for missional story telling through scripture is presented to the reader.

The Art of Seamless Pastoral Transition: A Guide For Church Leaders

Author
Lee D. Kricher D.Min.
Abstract
A standard practice during pastoral transitions is the appointment of an Interim Pastor, who serves for months or years between permanent (“settled”) pastors. A viable alternative is Seamless Pastoral Transition, an option that is becoming more and more common across traditions. With the goal of preserving congregational continuity and momentum, Seamless Pastoral Transition eliminates the gap in time between the service of the Outgoing Pastor and Incoming Pastor. This paper presents several Seamless Pastoral Transition case studies, about half of which are from mainline denominations, and covers three virtues to embrace and six pitfalls to avoid for church leaders in transition.

Developing a Pastor-Led Model Using a Text-Driven Invitation for the Effective Equipping of Decision Counselors at Living Water Church in Gladewater, Texas

Author
Teddy Wayne Sorrells Jr D.Min.
Abstract
This project seeks to train decision counselors at Living Water Church in Gladewater, TX to counsel church attenders who have responded to a text-driven invitation issued at the end of a sermon. Chapter 1 presents the history and ministry context of Living Water Church and the goals of this project. Chapter 2 provides the biblical precepts that call for a response to every sermon preached and the necessary need to recruit and equip others to help during this time of response. Chapter 3 explains why and how text-driven sermons call for a response and presents a model for text-driven preachers to equip decisions counselors. Chapter 4 presents the project and its methodology. Chapter 5 will evaluate the results of the project through a complete analysis of the specific goals completed. This project will develop a pastor-led model using a text-driven invitation for the effective equipping of decision counselors.

Revealing the Unknown God: Acts 17:16-34 as Luke’s Paradigm for Evangelism in a Biblically Illiterate Culture

Author
Timothy Paul Wilson M.A.
Abstract
This dissertation suggests that Acts 17:16-34 is intended by Luke as a paradigm for evangelism among the biblically illiterate and seeks to identify the methodology that is set forward as a paradigm. In the first section, two arguments against seeing Acts 17:16-34 as a Lucan paradigm are examined. Chapter two examines the arguments of those who claim that this speech is in no way an example of Pauline preaching but is rather the work of Luke or some later redactor. It is argued that there are no ultimately persuasive reasons to accept this view of the reliability of the speech. Chapter three presents the ideas of those who believe that the speech was a failure on the basis of issues such as the small number of converts and insights from the early Chapters of 1 Corinthians. These commentators believe Paul later repented of the approach he took at Athens. Again the essay examines these arguments and ultimately concludes that there is no reason to see the speech as anything other than successful. Section two asks what example Acts 17:16-34 sets for readers. Commentators have differed over their understanding of what Paul is doing here. Some argue that the speech represents a work of assimilation with Greek philosophy, others a critique of Greek idolatry and other groups some combination of the two. This essay will argue for a contextualised critique methodology. It sees critique as Paul’s primary purpose in the speech but acknowledges the way that his message is contextualised to be understandable to his hearers.

Perfect Love Casts out Fear: Exploring the Effectiveness of a Person-Centered Disability Awareness Seminar in a Congregational Setting

Author
Joshua H Jones D.Min.
Abstract
People with disabilities and their families frequently experience barriers toward inclusion and belonging in multiple spheres of life. These barriers are also present in Christian congregations. However, many congregations express a godly desire to love people with disabilities and their families without these obstacles.

The Old and New Testaments provide examples of how God’s people sought to love people with disabilities in their midst creatively and intentionally in response to God’s gracious actions, invitation, and command. Recent research in disability studies routinely highlight the necessity of being attentive to the uniqueness of each person with disabilities and his or her family. Recent work in the realm of sanctification also encourages Christians to practice active righteousness and vocation with an emphasis upon loving specific neighbors.

In light of current research, this project attempted to better understand the effects of a person-centered disability awareness seminar about the pastor’s own child in a single congregation using a mixed methods approach. A pretest posttest design was used in the quantitative phase of the research utilizing the Multidimensional Attitudes Scale Toward Persons with Disabilities (MAS) to measure attitudes (N = 42). A focus group was used in the qualitative phase of research (N = 7). Results suggest a person-centered disability awareness seminar can be an effective way to improve attitudes and relational engagement in a congregational setting.

HOW EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IN THE CHICAGO METRO AREA ARE ENGAGING MUSLIM COMMUNITIES

Author
Michael Urton D.Min.
Abstract
This project examined how local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area are engaging local Muslim communities. It asked a main research question along with two additional questions to frame the study. The main research question was how are specific local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area engaging local Muslim communities? The two additional questions were used to answer the main research question in a more precise manner. The first one was what are some of the challenges that these local churches encountered when engaging Muslims? The second was what lessons can be learned from the experiences of these congregations when mobilizing churches to engage Muslims?

This study began by stating the problem of attitudes towards Muslims in the West with special focus on evangelical Christians in the United States. It then discussed the important role that evangelical churches in the United States have in engaging the Muslim community.

A theological/biblical basis along with a philosophical foundation from a review of precedent literature supported this project. This foundation can assist evangelical Christians in knowing the lengths they can go in their engagement with Muslims, as well as realizing the distinctives that they must maintain.

Data collections were conducted for this study to explore the research questions. These included twenty-one semi-structured qualitative interviews with people at seven different churches, participant observations of events that these churches did with Muslims, and a collection of documentary evidence. The data from this study was organized into findings and suggestions were made for how they can be implemented by churches in their interactions with Muslim communities.

FOSTERING A CULTURE OF EVANGELISM AT GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH THAT AFFECTS CONVERSION GROWTH

Author
Philip Schenck D.Min.
Abstract
There are high expectations that a church plant grow by seeing people come to faith in Christ. Such seems to be the expectation placed upon every church plant, as evidenced in literature and conferences and denominational leaders. Experience has not born out what the church anticipated in terms of multiple and regular conversion growth. Academic research, interviews, surveys and focus groups were utilized to understand evangelism and outreach as a whole and as it pertains to the local church that was the focus of this project. Attempt has been made to determine and suggest a response or series of responses that might aid the church in its evangelistic effectiveness. Church members indicated a desire to see the church grow by conversion, but raised concerns about individual preparedness, the need for training, and overcoming fear. Community members raised questions and shared expectations of local churches and church leadership. An overall need for pastoral leadership in the area of evangelism was highlighted. The strategic plan for evangelism and outreach seeks to address the areas of concern and focus that came to light as a result of the research and study, the surveys and interviews undertaken, and conversations with members of church leadership. Is has sought to address needs represented and stated by church and community, leaves opportunity for further study and innovation and invites the involvement of every ministry team and every individual in the church.
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