Bible--Matthew

TOWARDS A STRATEGY OF GOSPEL GROWTH FOR CHURCHES FACING THE CHALLENGES OF MINISTRY & MISSION IN COASTAL CONTEXTS IN SYDNEY

Author
Richard Wenden D.Min.
Abstract
Churches in the 21st century find themselves in a post-Christian context, and the ongoing challenge for ministry teams and their congregations is how to adapt to this changing landscape with the accompanying cultural shifts. Churches in suburban coastal contexts face a myriad of challenges, especially the lifestyle that comes with living in what are deemed to be ‘destination’ suburbs. This Project is an attempt to consider these challenges afresh against the biblical and theological backdrop of the church’s mission, in line with God’s mission in Scripture. It explores these challenges through the lens of the Bible, 1 Peter in particular, where Christians are very much ‘in exile’.

The Project shows how an understanding of cultural movements and demographics, the importance of contextualization as a way of engaging people with the gospel, and how a shift in the church’s thinking towards adopting a ‘Third Place’ posture enables us to show people what real gospel-oriented community looks like. Ultimately it seeks to offer some ways forward along the lines of embracing an urban spirituality, helping people to see how the gospel can ‘reorder their disordered loves’ as they are pointed towards Jesus, and how more intentional training in discipleship and evangelism might equip congregations to be a faithful presence in their spheres of influence.

This Project focused upon congregations along Sydney’s coastal fringe. Through interviews with ministers of Anglican churches at the ‘coalface’ and by utilizing qualitative data, the goal is to assist churches that have historically struggled in coastal contexts to formulate strategies enabling them to be missionally effective, through a renewed approach to ministry planning. It is hoped this planning may bring significant, gospel-based, long-term impact on individual church members and the churches, to bring blessing to their suburbs, gospel growth to churches, and glory to God.

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.

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.

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.

IMPLEMENTING A COACHING-BASED DISCIPLE MAKING STRATEGY AT CHRIST CENTERED COMMUNITY

Author
Joseph Paul Kim D.Min.
Abstract
This project will implement a coaching-based disciple making strategy by using the Discipleship Training Relationship [DTR] curriculum. Chapter 1 presents the theological foundation for the projects. This chapter focuses on the nature of making disciples, the transformation of the heart, and Christian coaching. The purpose of this project is to implement a disciple making strategy at Christ Centered Community [CCC] by using the DTR curriculum.
Chapter 2 describes the ministry plan and implementation of the DTR curriculum. The plan includes three components: curriculum preparation, implantation, and evaluation. The implantation consists of four parts: Purpose, opening, lesson, and assessment for each week. The purpose and opening provide a general idea for each lesson. The lesson covers the highlights of the lesson plan. The assessment covers the reaction of the students and the project leader’s observation of the students as each lesson was taught.
Chapter 3 supplies a critical evaluation of the project leader’s objectives and the student’s objectives. Lastly, it introduces the accomplishment of the goals and the future plans for the DTR curriculum.

Christ-Centered Leadership: The Formation of Millennials

Author
Sean Wood D.Min.
Abstract
The problem this project addressed is the perceived lack of Christocentric leadership development among millennials of Canadian churches with over one thousand people in attendance. In response to this problem the researcher explored Christ-centered leadership formation and discipleship in the New Testament and early church. The literature reviewed related to the uniqueness of millennials as it connects to leadership development. The researcher interviewed two Senior Pastors who are considered highly influential with the millennial cohort. These two leaders have both led effective church congregations in Canada during their respective twenty-plus year tenure serving the same churches. Millennial leaders who are actively serving in roles of influence within these two churches also participated in this project. Fourteen were personally interviewed from the thirty-seven who completed an online survey. Three millennial cohort specialists were also interviewed. One is a respected Canadian sociologist, one is a counselor, author, corporate coach and Canadian media personality, and the third leads Canada’s premier sports camp and retreat center. Canada is an increasingly secularized country in which emerging generations are struggling to be rooted in Christ and effective in discipling and serving those within their sphere of influence. Through the analysis of the results of this project, and leaning on the research discovered, the researcher developed and presents seven principles in Christ-centered leadership for millennials living in Canada.

A CURRICULUM ON THE GENEALOGY OF MATTHEW

Author
Sha (Simona) Zeng D.Min.
Abstract
Genealogies have been one of the least studied literary forms in biblical scholarship over the years. This major project designs a seminary curriculum on the genealogy of Matthew and contends that Matthew’s Gospel, a synoptic and historical record similar to Chronicles, closely follows the Chronicler’s ideology and methodology. Thus, Matthew’s genealogy is purposefully devised to contain breaks (which I define as every insertion and deviation beyond the normal pattern of father begat son in the genealogy). These breaks highlight the numerical discrepancy of generations which are based on the pattern and concept of Chronicles are used to convey the unique Matthean message, and also function as an introduction to the whole book, just as the genealogies in Chronicles. The interpretations of the breaks and the numerical discrepancy of generations show a Christ-centered, suffering theology-based yet hope filled, and incarnation-powered life for Christians as well as an inclusive mindset, marginal-esteemed mentality, retribution-saturated, and cultic-oriented ministry for churches in addition to an influential-exerted leadership.

This project does more than teach the genealogy per se; instead, it explains the canonical priority of Matthew in the New Testament, enhances the knowledge of canonical reading of Scripture through studying the relationship between Chronicles and Matthew, demonstrates connections between the Old Testament and New Testament, contributes appreciation for often ignored portions of Scripture, identifies synoptic relationships in different parts of the Bible, teaches a way of interpreting the synoptic texts, strengthens the ability to read the biblical text, provides the transformational applications for Christian life and church ministry from the interpretations, includes the suggestions of improving the curriculum through multiple evaluation instruments, and provides plans for future teaching ministry. Moreover, lessons learned throughout the execution of the project will hopefully increase my own pedagogical effectiveness in general.

The Growth of Faith Lutheran Church of Castle Rock through Intentional Evangelistic Efforts

Author
Ebassa Berhanu D.Min.
Abstract
The author research what difference if any, a six-week teaching on the Great Commission and an instructional program on discipleship making, will have on the thinking and behavior of the people of Faith Lutheran Church on the importance of evangelism. The author used narrative qualitative method to measure his results. The research was fruitful from the point that the correct biblical understanding, by large, changes the thinking and behavior of people. Before the teaching a majority of the participants had a limited understanding of the word "go" in the Great Commission. They understood it as a suggestion rather than implied command to support the only command in Matthew 28:19 to "make disciple." Having the correct understanding shifted their thinking: going from point A - B had a greater purpose, which is to look for opportunities to "make disciples." Another misconception the participants was on evangelistic efforts. They had a very negative perception of what evangelism meant. The image they had was people holding "repent or you will go to hell," which left a bad taste in their mouth. This caused them to distance themselves from the work of the evangelist. The correct understanding of the word evangelism being a bearer of Good news, changed their thinking and behavior. The instructional program had positive results as it equipped people on how to share the gospel with others, creating confidence in the lives of the participants.

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?”

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.
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