Bible--Matthew

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.

Mission Strategy of Chinese Urban House Churches

Author
Yunhong Xuan D.Min.
Abstract
This paper introduces the theory of ecosystem into missiology for the first time, and it puts forward the theory of mission ecosystem. The so-called theory of mission ecosystem refers to the healthy interaction among mission-driven church, mission-driven leaders, mission-driven disciples, missionaries, and mission strategies which form a system in world missions, thus establishing a complete mission ecosystem.
This paper emphasizes that God is the source of power in the entire mission ecosystem. Just as the energy of the natural ecosystem comes from the sun, the energy of the mission ecosystem comes from God. Missionary God is the core of mission, the driving force of mission, and the essence of mission. Missionary God is like the engine of the mission ministry. Only God-centered missions can receive a constant supply of missionary power.
This paper emphasizes that in the engineering of the mission ecosystem, the establishment of the mission-driven church, the cultivation of mission-driven leaders, the training of mission-driven disciples, the dispatching of mission-driven missionaries and the formulation of mission-driven strategy form a complete mission bio-chain. When the influence and interaction between them achieve a dynamic equilibrium, it enables effective world mission.
This paper provides strategies for establishing mission-driven church, cultivating mission-driven leaders, training mission-driven disciples, dispatching mission-driven missionaries and formulating mission-driven strategies.
Key Words: Mission Strategy, Missionary God, Missional Church, Missional Leader, Missional Discipleship, Missionary.

Developing a Regional Understanding of Church Growth of Chinese Churches in the U.S. and a Plan for Disciple-Making Based Church Growth at a Local Chinese Church

Author
Fong-Yuen Ding D.Min.
Abstract
A DMin major paper effort was made to understand church growth of Chinese churches in the U.S. It is suggested that church growth should be considered along with other biblical goals, and the principles of church growth should be considered as reminder for our being faithful. The dynamics of church growth were stated as a guide for faithfulness. A survey among four Chinese churches in the U.S. east coast region was conducted, and another in a local Chinese church in Knoxville among its attendees was also conduct. A strategic plan for disciple-making based church growth plan was developed.

An Examination of Discipleship in Army Chapel Ministries Overseas

Author
Jesse McCullough D.Min.
Abstract
Military chapels face unique situations that churches do not. These circumstances complicate making Biblical disciples, especially in an overseas environment. As pastors called to preach the gospel and make disciples, Army chaplains must discern how to fulfill the command of Christ while also working as an Army staff officer. Measuring whether growth is occurring may provide information to help chaplains keep what is working and change what is not. This project is designed to gauge whether chapels in an overseas environment, specifically Germany, are truly making disciples in accordance with the Biblical mandate. The research combines context, theological basis, and surveys of congregants to attempt determining which factors contribute to growth and which are unimportant. Advice for lessons learned and further research are included.

Apostolic Women Religious in the United States and Their Legacy

Author
Janice J Brown O.P. D.Min.
Abstract
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.

Relational Christian Education: A theology and repertoire for teaching obedience to the commands of Christ

Author
Lawrence Cole
Abstract
How is the church to fulfill Christ's mandate to teach obedience to all he has commanded? From the Great Commission of Matt. 28:18-20 disciples are mandated to teach relational Christian education. Historically church leadership has been negligent in understanding this mandate. As derived from the Great Commandment in Matt. 22:35-40, Christian education is to teach obedience based on relations more than regulations. These relations originate from the Godhead's trinitarian relationships. Using James Fowler's faith development framework because of its relational qualities, a repertoire (program of action), rather than a taxonomy, was designed to provide relational goals for the teacher and learner.

Transformation happens at the margins: shaping beatitudinal character of volunteers by embracing excluded, marginalized, inconvenient others at drop-in centres

Author
Benjamin C Platz
Abstract
Jesus said "you cannot serve two masters." Yet, in the Western, Middle-Class Church (marked by syncretism) the world's ways (which exclude "inconvenient others") conflict with Jesus' ways (of embracing them). Consequentially, many Christians do not demonstrate Beatitudinal Character, the attributes of Matthew 5:3-10. Using Action Research, 11 drop-in centre volunteers, over 3 sites, were interviewed and surveyed. Auto-ethnographic analysis revealed that engaging those inconvenient to us could help in overcoming obstacles of comfort, self-reflection and incongruent orthodoxy, orthokardia and orthopraxy; in this way a disciple's character can be aligned with Christ's, helping the Church to regain an authentic mission.

Encountering the son of God: discipleship transformation through a journey in the gospel of Matthew

Author
Frederick H Merkes
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to evaluate cognitive, affective, and behavioral impact of a sixteen-week discipleship program on the participants using pre-, mid-, and post-project interviews. The field for this discipleship is the literary structure of the gospel of Matthew. The participants were five disciple-makers within the Trinity United Methodist Church of Gibsonburg, Ohio. Results showed evident changes stimulated mostly by the curriculum: the gospel of Matthew, varied settings for the classes, a modified version of the 4MAT during the sessions, and the immediate application of the classes to small group leadership.

A Bible quiz discipleship manual for youth in the Missionary Church

Author
Alan G Yerke
Abstract
A discipleship manual was prepared for teenagers in the Missionary Church Bible quizzing program. Quizzing, a competitive team activity, encourages youth to learn the content of Scripture. This manual, with its thirteen lessons and leader's guide, covered Matthew 1-12 and was designed as a tool for discipling quizzers with both the interpretation and application of the text. By offering sound teaching, a Christian perspective on competition, and by structuring the program into the overall youth ministry of the church, the coach, as a positive role model, can effectively disciple his team.

A Matthean critique of the contributions of the mission of the church to the task of ecumenism in the local setting

Author
Gerald L Mansholt
Abstract
The writer contends that the church in mission to needy neighbors contributes to the ecumenical task of the church. Orthopraxy as well as orthodoxy contributes to the quest for unity. The writer employs a methodology first proposed by liberation theologian Gustavo Gutierrez, namely, doing critical reflection upon the praxis of people in light of the Word of God. Using extensive quotations from interviews, the writer critically reflects upon a local, social, and ecumenical ministry in light of seven Matthean themes present in Matthew 25:31-46.
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