Brian Rathbun D.Min.
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.


Phillip Smith D.Min.
This Doctor of Ministry project was designed to explore the practical implications that can help disciplers of Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) in their mission to care for and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, develop the life and conduct of the new disciples from that background. It begins with the theological foundation of discipleship within the context of persecution and moves on to an examination of the existing literature on the topic.

This researcher conducted qualitative interviews with eighteen MBBs in a city in North Africa and another twelve experienced disciplers who worked in that field. The purpose of this project is to investigate the themes found in the journeys of discipleship and to discover the specific factors that influence MBB disciples to mature in Christ.

Based on a robust understanding and the findings of this research, a proposal for "Adaptive Discipleship Principles in the Context of Persecution" is put forth for workers to enhance the process of training and discipling MBBs, who might suffer for their faith, to know Him and to make Him known.

The research concludes that fear is a key challenging barrier. Those who crossed that barrier have identified themselves with the early church disciples (Acts 4:31). Another important factor that needs the attention of the disciplers is that this kind of work will take patience, perseverance, and much time. This work will be done on a low profile and it will continue to be unnoticeable.

Apostolic Women Religious in the United States and Their Legacy

Janice J Brown O.P. D.Min.
The legacy of Jesus has manifested itself among different populations, within different cultures, and during different times. This thesis-project looks at this manifestation as it unfolds as the legacy of apostolic women religious in the United States. The legacy of each participating congregation was described as a mission or more specifically as the mission of Jesus. It has also been the experience of these women religious that legacy is most tangible in the relationships and trust they built with their students, coworkers, and community members with whom they worked and partnered.
The legacy of apostolic women religious is a witness to the gospel message that took root as Christianity two thousand years ago. The thesis-project begins by exploring the legacy of Jesus, as well as the historical context that furthers God’s mission through the lives of three historical women – Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, and Angela Merici. The research then flows into the brief history of the Ursuline Sisters in the United States. Reviewing the pre and post-Vatican II eras and their influence on religious life helps lay a foundation upon which apostolic women today have been formed.
The primary data was gathered through focus group discussions involving seven congregations consisting of thirty-five apostolic women religious. Their comments are summarized first by congregation in order to maintain the richness within each discussion, then by main themes, and concluded with a reflection on the legacy of these women as it finds meaning through the Gospel of John.
Legacy has many definitions, but what surfaced most prominently was legacy as ministry, and the ministries are what define the women. Legacy efforts included developing relationships, education, healing, inclusivity, and service. All of these works could be imagined as the ongoing narrative of the Gospels, epitomized in the Beloved Disciple.

Preaching on difficult passages in Mark's gospel based on performance criticism

Zintack A Hahn
Mark's Gospel was composed to be performed in a communal setting. Therefore, performance of the gospel illuminates the meaning and emotive qualities of the gospel. By introducing newly emerging biblical discipline, Performance Criticism, this thesis seeks to unpack difficult passages in Mark's Gospel. It also explores how Performance Criticism can lead to a new homiletic approach, which the author names Performance Homiletics. Through a few examples of sermons, the author articulates the nature and power of Performance Homiletics. In essence, Performance Homiletics seeks to have the word come alive to effect changes among the participants of the preaching event.

Jesus--the hillbilly potentate: a Smoky Mountain version based on and adapted from the Gospel of Mark

Bruce W Spangler
The author's project thesis is guided by the following question: "Using the Gospel of Mark, how can a Wesleyan order of salvation be contextualized in a southern Appalachian culture of 'traditional orality'?" In the vernacular of a southern Appalachian culture and with the gospel of Mark as a framework, the author composes an annotated story of a hillbilly Jesus, who emerges from Newport, Tennessee, from the southeastern region near the Great Smoky Mountains. The author adapts the use of "Jack Tales," a storytelling technique of Appalachia, to appropriate a Wesleyan demonstration of God's present, freeing and transforming grace.

Mark as the basis for conflict resolution in a local church

Quentin R Meracle
The purpose of this project was to test a Bible study of the Gospel of mark as a tool in helping to resolve conflict among the leadership of a small to middle sized congregation. The clergy and lay leadership of a small congregation participated in the project, which began with a consultation which sought to name and understand the issues of conflict within the congregation. This was followed by a six week Bible study. Evaluation was in the form of a questionnaire administered during the first and last sessions of the Bible study and reflected a 4.75 percent positive attitudinal change.
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