Bible--Genesis

A Pastoral Approach to Preaching Difficult Texts

Author
Brian James Lays D.Min.
Abstract
This project proposes that preaching difficult texts with pastoral sensitivity can produce edifying sermons, proving useful certain texts of the Bible which have been excluded from the lectionary and thereby written off as irrelevant or even harmful to the Church. Six challenging biblical texts, from Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, Isaiah, Matthew, and Acts, none of which appear in the Revised Common Lectionary, are presented to a focus group for study and feedback. Utilizing data from the focus group, a sermon will be prepared from each text, and the focus group will evaluate whether or not each sermon proved the challenging biblical text useful.

From Joseph to Zaphnathpaaneah: A Theory and Practice of “Starting from Scratch” for Pastoral Leadership in Immigrant Churches
從約瑟到撒發那忒巴內亞:「從零開始」的移民教會教牧領導理論與實踐

Author
Yan Kwong Joshua Yeung M.Div.
Abstract
This paper is intended to explore Joseph’s life and career transformation. The phrase “from Joseph to Zaphnathpaaneah” includes situations like moving from his hometown to a foreign land, from having nothing to acquiring superior ability, skill, and maturity, thus accomplishing God’s plan for him, all "starting from scratch". When immigrant pastors come to North America and lead church of immigrants, they are, in a way, "starting from scratch". This paper further explores how immigrant pastors in churches of immigrants in North America can be a “Joseph” in their ministerial leadership by examining Joseph’s journey to become Zaphnathpaaneah, Egypt’s prime minister.

The Art of Finding Home: Creative Pilgrimage and Placemaking at Immanuel Baptist Church, Paducah, KY

Author
Brittany Riddle D.Min.
Abstract
By guiding participants to reflect on scripture and their life experiences through the creation of art in various mediums, this project was designed to teach a model of creative, theological reflection in order to provide artists at Immanuel Baptist Church in Paducah, KY with the opportunity to deepen their creative identity, to claim their identity as people who are created in the image of a creative and creating God, and to form meaningful community through shared, creative practices.

Participants gathered for seven weeks to visually and creatively reflect on themes of home and community in scripture as a way to practice creative placemaking. By sharing stories, practicing lectio divina, and creating art together, the artists were invited on an inward journey that encouraged theological reflection as an embodied, creative process rather than simply an intellectual exercise. At the end of the seven weeks, participants showed significant movement in the depth of their theological reflections as well as a greater sense of connection to each other and belonging within the congregation.

Work Perspectives, The Sacred/Secular Divide, and Workplace-Related Preaching, Equipping, and Church Support

Author
Joy P. Dahl D.Min.
Abstract
This study explored perspectives of work and workers, as well as potential connections between these perspectives and a lack of workplace-related preaching, equipping, and support provided by the church to congregants. This research, founded on a biblical theology of work, identifies implications for understanding church dynamics, and for dismantling beliefs and practices upholding the unbiblical sacred/secular divide.

The research engaged two groups within one church: pastors/paid church staff and congregants. The survey focused on: (1) value of work inside versus outside the church; (2) value of workers inside versus outside the church; (3) importance of work-related topics for preaching, equipping, and support within the church; and (4) adequacy of pastor/staff understanding of non-church workplaces and their ability to help congregants address workplace issues. This Doctor of Ministry project represents a unique study which evaluates perspectives of church workers and non-church workers within one church body regarding a primary area of everyday life often unaddressed or under-addressed by the church.

Two descriptive surveys, one for each group, garnered a 69.01% response rate from 71 pastors/staff, and a 9.62% response rate from 5,113 congregants. The surveys gathered quantitative responses, except for two qualitative responses regarding workplace demographics (for congregants only) which assisted the church in understanding the makeup of its non-church workers. The results of the surveys revealed that both pastors/staff and congregants within this church placed similar, high value on church and non-church work and workers. However, these perspectives did not translate into pastors/staff attributing high importance to work-related topics within church practices when compared to other topics. Additionally, both groups affirmed an inadequate understanding by pastors/staff of non-church workplaces and the daily issues congregants face.

The final chapter includes conclusions of the study and implications for future research. It also provides recommendations of potential next steps for the church.

CONTRASTING CONTRACTUAL AND COVENANT MARRIAGE IDEAS IN THE LIVES OF BELIEVERS FROM A MUSLIM BACKGROUND

Author
Nakhati Jon D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
Islamic marriage is a contract, and biblical marriage is a covenant. These two principles intersect and form a point of reestablishment in the marriages of believers from a Muslim background (BMBs).

Islamic contractual marriage ideas remain in marital relationships of BMBs. The intent of this study is to explore and understand the influence of Islamic contractual marriage on believers who now embrace the ideas of Christian covenant marriage.

The qualitative research will explore the believers’ understanding of their Islamic contractual marriage and their beliefs concerning biblical covenant marriage. BMBs retain a contractual view of marriage because they have not applied the ideas of covenant marriage, thereby affecting negatively their spousal relationships. Additionally, the use of certain cultural and religious terms reinforces their understanding of their marital relationship, often reflecting either a contractual or covenant perspective.

For BMBs and missionaries there is a deficiency of available literature that compares and explains the differences between the Islamic and biblical views of marriage. This study hopes to be a foundational resource to highlight areas which possibly are retained in these marriages.

The Baptized Community: Community Formation as Seen through Anglican Baptismal Ecclesiology
and the Liturgical Practice of Morning Prayer

Author
Kyle Norman D.Min.
Abstract
Beginning with The Book of Common Prayer, the first version of which was published in 1549, Anglicans have mediated their spirituality through participation in a common spiritual life. This is to say, formation toward Christlikeness is not to be understood as an individualized process whereby the individual grows in Christlikeness in an isolated and privatized manner. Rather, formation toward Christlikeness is a Spirit-led process that primarily occurs within the community of faith. The baptismal community is the very context of Christlike formation. This portfolio looks at communal formation through three, integrated components. Firstly, communal formation, along with its various components and nuances, will be described through an appeal to the Anglican baptismal liturgy. Secondly, scenes from the author’s own autobiography will serve to illustrate how communal formation may be practically experienced. Lastly, the author’s own research into the practice of Morning Prayer will highlight the importance of shared liturgy within communal formation. The portfolio argues that one is not formed individually, rather one is called to participate in the formation of the community. This is seen as occurring through immersion in shared liturgy, embodied action, and evangelistic mission.

Forgiveness: The Heart of God

Author
Marcia C. King D.Min.
Abstract
Painful forgiveness issues often exist within families, even within the church. To understand what the Bible, theologians, and social scientists say about forgiveness, the story of Joseph and the Parable of the Prodigal Son were exegeted. The pastoral aspects of forgiveness were explored utilizing an ethnographic approach of, observations, a survey, and one-on-one interviews. The results of this project is a five-hour course, "Forgiveness: The Heart of God," which emphasizes the transformational power of Christ in forgiveness. The last class concludes with a Eucharistic prayer retreat for generational and inner healing.
Painful forgiveness issues often exist within families, even within the church.

Helping the Parents of Middle School Students Communicate Biblical Truths of Sexuality at the First Baptist Church of Lenoir, North Carolina

Author
Thomas Russell Hinton
Abstract
An educational program was developed to discover the role of the church in promoting healthy parent/child communication about sexuality. Believing scripture affirms sexuality as a blessing from God, parents and middle school youth were recruited and led through the study. Surveys measured attitudes, opinions, and understanding of biblical knowledge, anatomy, and communication levels. After the program the families were given two months to observe parent/child communication. Final surveys indicated that the church can play an active role in promoting parent child communication about sexuality, and participants reflected a positive outcome by recommending the continuation of this program as a part of the on-going youth ministry of the church.

Equipping the congregation of East Belmont Baptist Church in Belmont, N.C. for outreach through the development and implementation of an active prayer ministry.

Author
Jeffrey Dean Taylor D.Min.
Abstract
In a local congregation, joining the spiritual practice of prayer with the ministry of outreach provides the church with an effective ministry tool to connect the congregation to its community and beyond. The East Belmont Baptist Church searches for effective ways to carry out the mission of making Christ known to others by equipping themselves through study and sermons to use prayer as a ministry in the community. Through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, congregational members meet people where they are and minister to them through intercessory prayer. This allowed the congregation to minister to others through outreach and prayer.

A STRATEGIC AND SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO EVALUATING AND ENHANCING CHURCH STAFF PERFORMANCE

Author
Steven Bray D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this Doctor of Ministry project was to create an annual staff development plan for Fountain City Wesleyan Church which focused on both improving effectiveness in performance and encouraging personal, professional and spiritual development. Fountain City Wesleyan is a church of 1000 with nine full-time pastors and ministry directors. The project highlighted the powerful impact of combining goal setting, coaching, and evaluation to develop team members. In addition, the project concluded that high performance expectations can be countered by high care for team members.

This project conducted two case studies of similar churches to Fountain City Wesleyan Church. The project explored the biblical and theological basis for staff development including the identification of twelve biblical principles. The literature review analyzed three components of the annual development plan: crafting an action plan utilizing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Relevant and Timed) goals and strategies; regular coaching sessions; and an annual review process to provide additional performance conversation and formal documentation of employee performance.

This plan included a guide to create an action plan each trimester, the implementation schedule for the plan, a model for coaching staff (Connect, Opportunity, Alternatives, Course, Highlights), an annual self-review and performance review. Additionally, supplemental avenues to promote self-care among staff were identified. The final plan, tips and tools for coaching, tools for diagnosing development needs, and the research protocol are noted in the appendices.
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