Bible--Deuteronomy

DEVELOPING AND EVALUATING A BIBLICAL PARENTING RESOURCE IN MEDIA MINISTRY

Author
Steven Koster D.Min.
Abstract
Media ministry publishes gospel content on paper, on the air, and online, but few robust feedback systems are in place to measure the spiritual impact of gospel broadcasts. This study articulated a theoretical foundation of a biblical theology and review of pastoral practices on children and parenting, published a resource on biblical parenting for distribution through the Internet, and then asked the audience for feedback.

The resource was rooted in a study of how the Bible regards both children and the task of parenting. The study also explored models of faith formation, pastoral parenting best practices, and a review of the religious landscape of contemporary youth. A 93-page electronic booklet (PDF) called “A Handbook of Biblical Parenting” was developed and shared with over a thousand people online, who were then invited via email to complete an online questionnaire.

The response rate was less than 2%, yet the audience was demographically in line with the expected audience. Most respondents were actively parenting young children, expressed an improvement in their parenting confidence, and found the resource practical, using its ideas several times. Most considered faith important to their parenting and found the resource to be encouraging, biblical, and educational. Most consumed the PDF deeply, even though most used a handheld mobile device. A repeated use of this prototype process would require a greater response rate to be consistently useful. Formatting for a small screen would be wise. The questions would require adaptation for other topics. Alternatively, a shorter version of the questionnaire could focus the inquiry more directly on gathering actionable information.

CHALLENGES RELATED TO THE TRANSMISSION OF FAITH TO THE SECOND GENERATION IN A SMALL SUBURBAN CANTONESE CHINESE CHURCH

Author
Teresa Gianakakos D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry project explored potential issues related to the transmission of faith to the second generation in a small suburban Cantonese Chinese church. It was initiated when the first generation at the church began to age, and the second generation who grew up in the church became disconnected and some even left the faith entirely.

Three qualitative research methodologies were employed to investigate the possible factors of second-generation exodus. Ethnographic observation, in-depth interview, and survey questionnaire were implemented. The first two methodologies extended to both the first and second generations at the church to explore their faith status, past experiences and perception of influences by Chinese and Western culture. The third methodology surveyed Chinese churches outside of this church to compare and contrast resulting data.

The methodologies were effective in eliciting data useful in recommending some possible considerations of ministries at the church. To produce these recommendations was also a goal of this project. The key conclusion was the first generation must be firmly established as a disciple of Jesus Christ, and live a transformed, holy life. Such transformation will not only touch the second generation, but also impact the surrounding community.

KINDLING DELIGHT IN GOD: MINISTERING TO THE SPIRITUAL AFFECTIONS IN A SMALL RURAL CHURCH

Author
Nathan Edwards D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to discover effective ministry methods for cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of followers of Jesus to nurture stronger affections of love, delight, and desire for God.

The author built the theological basis of the project from both Old Testament and New Testament passages that describe the role of affections such as love, delight, and desire, as well as anger and sadness in the lives of God’s people.

Jonathan Edwards, especially the Religious Affections, was part of the key literature the author drew from, looking also at a brief theological history around the theme of affections leading up to Edwards, with special attention on the Puritans. The author considered more recent spiritual formation literature regarding affections and spiritual disciples that nurture them in light of Edwards’s legacy.

The author conducted field research with ten participants around a series of eight meetings, utilizing a combination of biblically-based teaching curriculum and practical experiences of spiritual disciplines. Some adjustments were made for the COVID-19 health crisis.

The author identified meditating on God’s creation and candid spiritual conversations between followers of Jesus as the two most consistently effective disciplines for nurturing spiritual affections. Fasting also had a notable impact, especially associated with protracted time focused exclusively on God. The responses to biblical meditation, including scripture memorization and lectio divina, had a mixed reception from different participants. Participant responses highlight the importance of building the believer’s affection for God on God’s love for the believer and of finding expressions of adoration appropriate to the believer. The author concluded with some suggestions for implementing spiritual disciplines in the author’s congregation.

A THIRTY-ONE DAY SPIRITUAL GROWTH EXERCISE AT SYRACUSE ALLIANCE CHURCH TO HELP CHRISTIANS KNOW AND EXPRESS THE LOVE OF GOD

Author
Brian Rathbun D.Min.
Abstract
The “Love One Another Spiritual Growth Exercise” was developed because it was essential at Syracuse Alliance Church in Syracuse, New York to develop the Great Commandment environment in order for the church to more effectively fulfill the Great Commission.

The Love One Another Spiritual Growth Exercise was developed to focus the people of the church for thirty-one consecutive days on loving God with all their being and expressing their love for God by loving others as themselves. A series of five messages from 1 John was preached over five consecutive Sunday mornings. Thirty-one “Love One Another” devotionals were developed and then distributed daily. People were challenged to memorize one key Love One Another scripture verse per week for five weeks. They were asked to make one brief journal entry per week for five weeks to reflect on what God was teaching them about loving Him and others.

At the end of the exercise three Focus Groups, a women’s group, a men’s group, and an elders group, were convened to gather feedback on the impact of the project. The feedback from these groups indicated that the exercise engaged a large percentage of people in the church and helped them take a step to enhance the Great Commandment environment. The Focus Groups provided valuable information for how to improve the various aspects of the exercise and proved invaluable for the development and implementation of any spiritual growth exercise at any church.

Incorporating giving as an integral part of worship at Blessed Harvest Institute of Charlotte, North Carolina

Author
Brian Gerard Fite
Abstract
Giving is one of the most effective forms of worship we have available to us, but it has become the most exploitive and misunderstood element of the worship service. The methods and language used to frame giving within worship have led to exploitation resulting in unwillingness to wholeheartedly participate in giving as an element of worship. The literature addressing giving and the biblical interpretations are lacking in accurately speaking to the issues that arise in applying Old and New Testament scripture to address giving as an element of worship. There are a growing number of articles attempting to address the covetous nature involved in the methods and language used in inviting people to give to God. This work evaluated the giving practice in Blessed Harvest Institute by evaluating some Old and New Testament scriptures and determining how the interpretations are to be applied in the methods and language used to frame the giving experience in the worship service. Leviticus 27:30-33, Deuteronomy 14:22-29, Malachi 3, Acts 3-5, 2 Corinthians 8-9, and other scriptures were used to understand the methods and language of giving biblically. Giving is to be a freewill expression of worship executed in an environment of liberty. It is necessary to reframe the concept of tithing not to be an obligation but a personal choice to express worship to God. Any prompting will remove worship from giving. Worship is a free expression that must be voluntary; therefore, giving must be voluntarily expressed, not grudgingly, by compulsion or of necessity, in order to be an element of worship.

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.
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