Bible--Gospels

PREACHING CHRIST FROM VIETNAMESE PROVERBS AND FOLK POETRY

Author
Dieu Tran D.Min.
Abstract
Peter Dieu Tran, M.A., D.Min. Aquinas Institute of Theology, Saint Louis, Missouri, 2021.

This doctor of ministry thesis is an attempt to contribute to the preaching mission in Vietnam. Dealing with the problem that many Vietnamese preachers face (Chapter I), this project proposes that preachers use proverbs and folk poetry in their preaching. Before trying to put this preaching method into practice, this thesis looks at the theological framework (Chapter II), the homiletical foundation (Chapter III), and a brief study of Vietnamese proverbs and folk poetry (Chapter IV). Chapter V details the ministerial intervention of this project and the interpretation of its outcomes. Chapter VI reviews the overall project and the next steps for my research.

PREPARING THE SOIL FOR PREACHING CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING THROUGH EMPATHETIC NARRATIVE

Author
William Hisker D.Min.
Abstract
The research study explores the theological and social-psychological forces that discourage the preaching of the prophetic message of the Gospel. The study was conducted with seventy-four volunteers and six permanent deacons in the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The study used a combination of quantitative and qualitative surveys and interviews. The hypothesis explored was whether or not the use of narrative techniques, specifically Narrative 4 story exchange would be useful as a technique for preparing congregations to be open to the challenges presented by Catholic social teaching. Additionally, the research sought to determine whether or not the six deacons who participated in the study would find narrative a useful technique in their preaching and evangelization efforts.

Participants completed an empathy profile before viewing one of seven different videos produced by the United States Conference of Bishops on the Life and Dignity of the Human Person; the Call to Family, Community, and Participation; the Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; Rights and Responsibilities; Solidarity; Care for God’s Creation; and the Dignity of Work. Participants were asked to rate the videos and indicate how often they heard preaching of the subject matter of the videos. Participants were also given the opportunity to participate in a Narrative 4 story exchange. Participants were then asked to complete the Interpersonal Reactivity Index a second time to see if there was a statistically significant change in their empathy profile. In addition, participants were asked to evaluate their experience with the story exchange. While there was no significant statistical change, as measured by the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, the interviewees demonstrated a high level of approval for the story exchange as a vehicle for improving the empathetic response of a congregation and as a useful technique for use in the preaching of Catholic social teaching.

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.

Indigenous African Demonic Deliverance and its Transference into Pentecostalism with Subsequent Refining: Ghana and its Diaspora as a Case Study

Author
Duane Sterling Sims M.A.
Abstract

This paper examines how the traditional Ghanaian worldview has been contextualized by grass-roots Christians in Ghana, and further by Ghanaian Pentecostals, and how this has been exported, adapted, and refined from Ghana across national and continental lines to its diaspora. I hope to address some key questions regarding Ghanaian deliverance practices (at home and abroad) and integrate my findings into ministry, whether to Africans or anyone. Some of these questions include: “What drives Ghanaians to seek deliverance? How have they, historically, sought to deal with the spirit realm? How do they currently seek to deal with it? What are some of the differences between a traditional Ghanaian understanding and that of a Ghanaian Pentecostal view?”

Applying the Principles Taught in the Emotionally Healthy Church Through a Discipleship Workshop of Christians Within the A&D Biker Ministries Congregation

Author
Ralph L. Scherer D.Min.
Abstract
Making disciples was part of Christ’s commission to his Church. Historically, the focus of Christian discipleship has been to produce greater spiritual health and maturity. Author Pete Scazzero, in his book, The Emotionally Healthy Church, offers a paradigm of discipleship that promises to also produce greater emotional health and maturity. This project sought to test the validity of this discipleship paradigm, by teaching and utilizing the principles of The Emotionally Healthy Church in an extended discipleship workshop process with 20-30 adult Christians within our congregation. The process included an anonymous survey, Nominal Group Technique, multiple workshop teaching / learning sessions, a preaching series on these principles and individual follow-up interviews.

Helping People to Experience Spiritual Healing of Painful Life Experiences

Author
Brian Smilde D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry Major Project was intended to assess the extent to which people experience spiritual healing of past wounds through a series of small group gatherings focused on teaching and experiencing the spiritual healing of Jesus Christ.

The project began with identifying the biblical and theological foundation for Jesus healing people from their wounds—not only physical but also emotional or spiritual. Then examining what people in other disciplines—such as social science, counseling, and business—also think, believe and teach about healing or restoration from past wounds.

The intervention involved a small group of six participants experiencing a series of eight small group gatherings. They filled out a Pre-Group and Post-Group Questionnaire. After five small group gatherings of teaching, experiencing and praying, there were two Focus Groups which allowed the participants to share feedback about what they learned, experienced and thought.

The data from the two Questionnaires and the Focus Groups was analyzed in order to assess the effectiveness of these small group gatherings to lead participants toward the spiritual healing of Jesus Christ. The result of this analysis was that participants were helped to identify past wounds or traumas, they felt safe to share honestly and vulnerably with the other group participants, they felt that others responded with grace and empathy, and they reflectively and personally applied the teaching in ways that allowed them to experience Jesus release them from past pain.

GUIDELINES FOR MOBILIZING CHINESE BI-VOCATIONAL KINGDOM WORKERS FOR THE NEWLY OPENING BELT ROAD COUNTRIES

Author
R. Strickler D.Min.
Abstract
The project set out to discover guidelines for how to best prepare Chinese bi-vocational Kingdom Workers to work and live missionally wherever God leads them. Of particular interest to the emerging missions candidates from China are Muslim peoples spread throughout the countries aligned with the emerging Belt Road Initiative.

A review of international marketplace ministry and business as mission practices was undertaken. The project research focuses on a sample of existing Chinese-led Business as Mission enterprises. Interviews were conducted with ten different Chinese executives or owners, located in seven different countries, including China proper.

Information on why companies chose to locate in an area and how the leaders were prepared, was elicited. Some correlation was made as to how the Chinese BAM companies conduct their businesses compared to the international BAM movement.

There was convergence between the two streams, and at the same time several distinct issues and opportunities emerged for the preparation of future Chinese workers. Among these are: solid teaching on the theology of work for both candidates and senders; the need for life-on- life discipleship training prior to going out; for those inexperienced in BAM or marketplace ministry, the recommendation for apprenticeship with an existing company prior to being deployed; and, the opportunity for Chinese BAM companies to capitalize on emerging green technologies.

The findings from these interviews provides material that will be used by the writer, his agency, and partners, in the preparation of bi-vocational Kingdom Workers. This will help new appointees they are coaching to live and work most effectively as they answer the call to go to unreached peoples in the newly opened Belt Road countries.

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.
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