Bible--Matthew

TRAINING SMALL GROUP LEADERS TO LEAD THE EMERGING ADULTS OF TRINITY CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE

Author
John Michael Barefield D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor on Ministry project created a training program to train small group leaders to lead the emerging adults for Trinity Church of the Nazarene in Charlotte, North Carolina. This project shared the concerns of the church in losing emerging adults after they graduate from high school. The project explored the concerns of the emerging adult generation. The literature research included the writings of Chap Clark, Kara E. Powell, David Kinnaman, Corey Seemiller, Meghan Grace, Pew Research, and others.

This qualitative research project focused on how to train leaders to lead a small group of emerging adults. This project was conducted in three phases. The first phase presented in a six-part sermon series to the congregation. The second phase interviewed emerging adult participants. The third phase trained small group leaders to lead emerging adults.

This project helped the congregation, and small group leaders, to have a better understanding of emerging adults. The small group leaders gained confidence in leading emerging adults. The pastor learned to be sensitive to the needs, interests, and values of the emerging adults in his congregation.

FAITH AND FACEBOOK: EVANGELIZING A RURAL PARISH COMMUNITY IN SOUTHEAST MISSOURI

Author
DOMINIC OKON IBOK D.Min.
Abstract
In Southeast Missouri, where Catholics are a minority, the challenge of diminishing participation and reduced membership requires an intentional engagement of the inactive members and the unaffiliated within the community. Unfortunately, many members of the laity do not have the awareness or skills to evangelize. In a rural community, the challenges seem more significant due to limited personnel and resources. This thesis project aims to equip the laity with the skills and tools to evangelize inactive Catholics and the unaffiliated. It will involve growing in prayer, study, generosity, evangelization, and the discernment of their charisms. With the benefit of social media engagement like Facebook live stream, an opportunity to engage and evangelize is available for our rural parish community. The resources from experienced lay evangelists in evangelization and social media engagement will provide a template that can enhance the development of a program on evangelization for my rural parish community. To test the effectiveness of these resources, seventeen participants engaged in a nine-week program to learn how prayer, study, generosity, evangelization, the discernment of their charisms, and teamwork can prepare them for evangelization. This thesis engaged the inactive Catholics and the unaffiliated in rural Southeast Missouri by using Facebook live stream as an evangelization tool. The focus of this project is thus reminding active Catholics of their responsibility to evangelize and how utilizing a familiar social media portal like Facebook can enhance the process even in a rural community.

Resting to Preach: A Biblical—Theological Evaluation of Rest Toward the Preparation of Sermons

Author
Stephen Trent Thomas M.Div.
Abstract
Abstract

Resting to Preach: A Biblical—Theological Evaluation of Rest
Towards the Preparation of Sermons


This project will argue that, because deliberate rest is restorative to the intellect and to creativity, and because preaching preparation is a creative and intellectual endeavor, preachers should intentionally incorporate deliberate rest into their sermon-preparation process. The writer will explore the biblical basis for rest using six passages of Scripture. Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 20:8-11 will establish the importance of Sabbath rest. Psalm 19 will describe rest as one experiences nature. Matthew 11:25-30 will reveal the rest Jesus promises to those who are weak and heavy-laden. Mark 6:30-44 will develop the rest Jesus provides to His followers when they become overwhelmed with ministry. Hebrews 3:18-4:13 will explore the rest promised to the obedient.
The writer will present research from scientific sources. Rest, Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Sooing-Kim Pang, The Wandering Mind by Michael Corbalis, In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honoré, and The Secret World of Sleep by Penelope Lewis are the sources that will reveal the value of sleep to the intellect and to human creativity.
The writer will survey Christian authors to provide biblical insight into the value of sleep. These books are Saints’ Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter, The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan, The Art of Rest by Adam Mabry, Subversive Sabbath by A. J. Swoboda, and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. These authors accentuate the necessity of rest for the follower of Jesus.
The project’s goal is to help preachers improve their preaching by adding various forms of rest during their sermon-preparation process.

Faith-Driven Impact Investing: Renewing a Belief that an Investment in Entrepreneurialism and Commerce is Central to God's Plan of Redemption and Human Flourishing

Author
Jonathan Mark Halverson D.Min.
Abstract
This project addressed the need for a renewed belief among faith-driven investors that investments in redemptive businesses is central to God’s plan of redemption and biblical human flourishing. The explosive growth of values-aligned investing, such as Socially Responsible Investing and impact investing, has opened the door to introducing values into investment decision-making. There are significant opportunities for Christ followers to align their biblical values with their investment strategies, and to “put to work” (Matt. 25:16) resources apportioned to them by God; however, they have been slow to embrace the opportunities. Research was conducted to understand the underlying biblical-theological beliefs of high-net-worth individuals and wealth management advisors that support or discourage faith-driven impact investing. The parable of the talents was dissected to understand Jesus’ intent when he chose the Greek word talanton to communicate his leadership expectation to his closest follower. The Quakers are highlighted as an example of a group that embraced commerce as a primary strategy for expressing their faith, providing for their families, developing young leaders, and engaging with the world. The research findings were synthesized into a new biblical-theological framework for Kingdom Impact Investing that is offered as a model for the growing faith-driven impact investing movement. A major goal of this project was to contribute to the broader biblical-theological conversation regarding the integration of faith and investing. Values-driven Christ followers should be on the leading edge of impact investing instead of lagging far behind.

Equipping the Korean-American Families for Family Worship at Orange Canaan Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana, CA

Author
WOO LEE LEE D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
In the 120 years of Korean immigration to the United States, there has been a history of much hardship and loneliness associated with settling down in a strange land and living life as an immigrant. For many immigrants adjusting to life in the United States, in which their children have had to adjust to life in a whole new culture, it is often the case that they have not been able to pay much attention to their children's lives. Now, these parents face the problem of communicating to and discipling children that have grown up in a completely different language and culture—having been assimilated to the culture and having been educated in the United States growing up with a completely different set of values from their parents' generation. As such, problems and conflicts within Korean immigrant families in the United States continue to grow. For Christians, the problems they face often find their children leaving their homes and leaving their churches. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the Korean church in the United States.

The Development and Evaluation of a Discipleship Program for the Beijing Yizhuang District

Author
Long Cheng D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
Before Jesus rises to heaven, he said to his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth. has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20) This is Jesus’ final commandment before risen to heaven. Jesus considers this great commandment very important. He expects his disciples to complete this comment faithfully, earnestly, and proactively. This is also the church that his followers gather, who carry forward this mission faithfully.

With many years of observation of church’s growth, I have found that some mega churches have very good church environment, abundant offering in number, but there are very few true disciples who can really live a life like Jesus, who are really willing to follow Jesus. Jesus has said to the fig tree by the roadside “May you never bear fruit again!” (Mt 21:19b) Many churches are like this fig tree with many leaves cover the tree. It looks very good from the outside, but it does not bear fruit. This is what Jesus hates.

With this study, I hope to explore a discipleship training, which will suit church and help disciples grow spiritually under biblical principles. I also hope that this training will help many other churches in the similar background.

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.
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