Bible--New Testament

“FAITHFUL TO HIS PROMISES”: GOD’S CALLING OF STARRY HASMATALI AS AN HISTORIC INDO-TRINIDADIAN MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF GOD IN TRINIDAD AND CANADA

Author
Duane Sterling Sims M.A.
Abstract
This paper is concerned with the case story of Starry Hasmatali, who was raised in Trinidad and immigrated to Canada: first to Toronto and then to Moose Jaw. I have decided to interview her in particular, because she was an integral member of an historic Indo-Pentecostal family in the Church of God (Cleveland TN), in Trinidad. With her late husband, Edward D. Hasmatali, they brought the Church of God (CoG) to the island, and were deeply involved in leadership training and church planting.

Indo-Trinidadian Pentecostalism seems to be somewhat of an overlooked area of academic study, thus in interviewing Starry, I will seek to uncover their experiences in ministry in Trinidad and Canada, particularly in relation to their historic connection to the Church of God. I have also chosen to concentrate upon Indo- Trinidadian Pentecostals, since they comprise a significant section of the population of that country.

HOLY LISTENING: CREATING NEW PRACTICES OF MISSION BY EXTENDING PASTORAL CARE BEYOND THE WALLS OF THE CHURCH

Author
Caitlin Thomas Deyerle D.Min.
Abstract
With a goal of developing a new practice of mission to address the disconnect between a congregation and its surrounding community and engage the historical and ongoing limitations of mission practices, this project sought to engage the skills of pastoral care to create a relational focused practice of holy listening. A five-week Lenten Listening program was developed to cultivate this practice and use it to create a deeper partnership with local educators. The evaluation methods used were a survey of the congregational participants before and after the program, and in-person interviews with the educators following the program. The project addresses racial and socioeconomic differences between church and community as a primary barrier to mission partnership.

EVALUATION OF A TEACHER TRAINING WORKSHOP FOR BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW EDUCATION AND TRANSFORMATION

Author
Rhonda Kaye Kamakawiwoole D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
Given the world’s plurality of worldviews, transformation to the biblical worldview—God’s understanding of reality—remains the paramount task of Christian parents and the church in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Christian parents are to impress God's commands on their children so the next generation might come to know, love, and serve Him (Deut 6:6-7). Jesus charges the church to make disciples, baptize, and teach others to obey his commands (Matt 28:19-20), yet, spiritual formation is not the target it should be for most Christian families and the American church. The literature reveals a general lack in understanding of the biblical worldview in Christians across generations, and thus, believers lack confidence and motivation to share God’s worldview with others.
This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of a workshop designed to address transformation in the comprehension, commitment, and intended conduct of participants to train others to the biblical worldview. Statistical analysis revealed participants changed in understanding, confidence, and motivation toward engaging in further growth to the biblical worldview and training others to it. Anecdotal information gathered from comments on the post-training survey provided additional evidence of the above, as well as qualitative evidence demonstrating participants changed in their commitment to share God’s truth with others and planned for future change in this “commissioned” area for Christ.
The workshop effectively addressed the lack of intentionality about growing in and sharing the biblical worldview with others. The study showed adult Christians of all ages are more likely to engage in sharing the biblical worldview with others once they better understand the distinctives of the biblical worldview, gain confidence in their knowledge and abilities and are motivated to share it, and are equipped with models for training others to the biblical worldview.

A Biblical Examination of an Ontological reading of Theology, in Trinity, in the [Christian] Believer and in Church

Author
Erwin Samuel Henderson Dr Ph.D.
Abstract
Ontological theology considered in some theological works, was given little significance as a primary theme. The thesis attempts to restore prominence and cohesion of an ontological construct, whereby function and structure, are the subordinate product defined by the ontological theological perspective. The effects are far reaching for theological definitions of the essential nature of the Trinity, the believer and the church; representing a paradigmatic shift in theological understanding, affecting profoundly the nature existential Christocentric Christianity.
The ontological theology of Trinity contrasts with the relational subordination, authority-submission proponents and opponents, in substance, in relationship and in function. The recovery of apostolicity as an ontological attribute of Godhead provides significant insight and cohesion to the ontological Trinitarian proposal.
The effects upon the believer ontologically are contrasted with the religious disposition and the positional judicial approach to salvation. The prototypical shift occurs in the Person of Jesus-Christ to an existential reality originated in Trinity and replicated ontologically in the believer. The nature of humankind is thereby reinterpreted giving definition to the “spiritual man” as the sole form of legitimate existence that is biblically normalized and warranted.
The ontological primacy provides an alternate construct to the historical structural understanding of church that has not changed since the early patristic period. The proposal emerging from this exegesis is a model of church: ontological and apostolic, originated, [re]sourced, and incarnate from the nature of Trinity, demonstrating undeniably that it is impossible for the Church of divine intent to exist outside of the three persons of the Godhead. Christo-centricity restores Church to the origin, source and 'telos'. Present day observations may exemplify distanciation of contemporary expressions of church from ontological definitions. A return to source represents a theological and ecclesiastic field of renewal to perpetuate in the coming years.

"DOCTRINE DIVIDES, SERVICE UNITES": EFFECTIVE THEOLOGICAL METHODS OF INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE FOR ACHIEVING PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE IN MYANMAR CONTEXT

Author
Ar Naing D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis examines a practical application for effective interreligious dialogue in Myanmar. The country exists deeply rooted in religious tension and ethnic conflict. In these unstable times, some of the religious leaders and politicians are barriers to democratic transition and peaceful coexistence. In response, this thesis explores a prophetic witness of social justice in the light of the Praxis Model, a theological method of Professor Stephen B. Bevans. First, the conditions of social-religious-political injustices are examined to explain what led the country into chaos, corruption, and civil war. Then, this thesis proposes using effective, practical methods for moral and social transformation. Rather than promoting interreligious dialogue focused on doctrines that have divided people, this thesis recommends uniting people through involvement in social service activities that create common understanding and mutuality. A just and peaceful society can be created through the cooperation of Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu religious groups by cultivating the practice of prophetic interreligious dialogue.

Language for Effective Preaching: Practical Guide for Fidei Donum Priests in the Belleville Diocese

Author
Urban Chidi Osuji D.Min.
Abstract
ABSTRACT

LANGUAGE FOR EFFECTIVE PREACHING
PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FIDEI DONUM PRIESTS
IN THE BELLEVILLE DIOCESE

Urban Osuji, Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri.

Culture is an inherited conception that has to do with what a person learns from the parents, others, and the society about what it means to be a human being. As a child grows in the society, the child learns the culture’s general assumptions about family relations, relations between men and women, attitude towards life and death. A child learns these assumptions from parents and caregivers. There are other cultural expressions including table manners and the distribution of chores. Of all these inherited conceptions, language is the most symbolic of them all.
Language as an essential part of preaching is the subject of this thesis. The hypothesis is that Fidei Donum Priests can be effective Preachers by attending to the linguistic idioms, imageries, phrases, and sentence construction of the local congregation. The language of preaching is the concrete language of everyday life. Preaching language is the language that the children hear and understand and when they do not understand, their mothers offer a simpler understanding of the language with stories and imageries. Stories and imageries create and leave impressions on the emotional life of the people. When Priests use stories, imageries, and metaphors in preaching, listeners identify God’s presence in their midst. And that is why concrete imageries are the best tools for preaching.
But the use of concrete language in preaching does not come easy to the missionaries. Therefore, Fidei Donum Priests must immerse themselves by taking time to go to the people, live among them, share their lives and learn their language, including imageries, metaphors, and stories that have significant value for them.

The Development of 1st Generation Pastors for Leadership in Independent Churches in Andhra Pradesh, India

Author
Manikanta Sai Ankem D.Min.
Abstract
This major project was designed to address the challenges that the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders go through to emerge as pastors and leaders within the independent churches of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also designed to address the issue of favoritism and nepotism on developing the emerging leaders, and succession in those churches.

Among the independent churches, it seems, only the senior pastors’ progenies are the successors. It seems, there is no place for the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders to be developed for the senior pastorate of the independent churches. Not developing first-generation emerging pastors/leaders is a threat to the growth of Christianity in India. It is also not the New Testament model of training and developing first-generation pastors/leaders.

In the first section, the researcher dealt with the sociological issues and the cultural hierarchies that are contributing towards not developing the first-generation emerging pastors. In dealing with these issues, the researcher used the literature available and provided a biblical response. Also, the researcher showed biblical insight regarding the way of training and developing the first-generation pastors/leaders.

In the second section, the researcher used a qualitative method, doing in-depth interviews. The interviewees consisted of two groups of people – senior pastors of the independent churches who are close to handing on the baton of leadership; the second, first-generation emerging pastors who are in the process of emerging as pastors.

The findings of this research affirmed that the first-generation emerging pastors went through (and are going through) many challenges such as lack of proper guidance, support, training, mentor relationship, and trust from their senior pastors. There are also favoritism and nepotism issues along with insecurities of the senior pastors and lack of biblical knowledge on how to train and develop the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders without showing hierarchy and favoritism.

Project Title: Perspectives of Global Leaders on the Future of Multiethnic Collaboration: An Exploration

Author
Philip J. Smith D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry Project explored new opportunities for interorganizational collaboration within a specific network of ministry partners around the globe. It focused on multiethnic teams and organizations that have been birthed, in part, out of the ministry of Leadership Resources International (LRI), a pastoral training organization headquartered in Illinois.

The purpose of this project was to carefully gather and clearly understand perspectives from multiethnic leaders of these various teams and organizations around the world in order help LRI wisely navigate interorganizational collaboration.

In preparation for the field work, the author researched biblical, theological, historical, missiological and theoretical perspectives involved with worldwide, evangelical, multiethnic, interorganizational collaboration.

The methodology of the project followed the Appreciative Inquiry approach to qualitative, action research in order to carefully facilitate gathering wisdom from these leaders. Extended, semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty leaders on eight leadership teams from eight separate countries. The transcribed recordings of the interviews were coded and analyzed. Findings and proposals were formulated for LRI leadership and recommendations presented for a wider audience.

The project found that damaging attitudes that accompany power-differentials pose the greatest challenge to effective interorganizational collaboration for this network. It also found that multifaceted wisdom and humility would have the greatest potential for combating that challenge and should permeate all interorganizational initiatives. For LRI, in particular, along with recommended means of cultivating wisdom and humility, the researcher recommended the formation of a carefully designed global entity as the best means of facilitating wise interorganizational collaboration amidst the wide-ranging challenges of power-differentials around the world.

THE DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION OF AN EIGHT-WEEK, SMALL GROUP-BASED BIBLE STUDY COURSE FOR MARRIED COUPLES SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO STRENGTHEN THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP

Author
David Alan Shaffer D.Min.
Abstract
This project seeks to answer the research question, “Does an eight-week, small group-based Bible study course for married couples strengthen the marriage relationships of its participants?” Today’s most effective marriage programs focus on important themes relevant to marriage and include transparency, a biblical foundation, and gentle accountability. Still, the question follows, “What comes next to further strengthen marriages?” This project answers this question with a process-based Bible study that, because of its design, strengthens the marriage relationship with improved communication, conflict resolution, and increased overall marital satisfaction (the three measures of this project). This methodology includes weekly individual study, couple discussion, and small group interaction.
Through the use of pre- and post-course surveys, the couples who participated in a study of Galatians provided ample quantitative research that yielded group, couples, and gender statistics. The couples’ data was measured by Positive Couple Agreement (PCA), which identifies couples’ responses as a relational strength when they choose the same response or are within one choice of each other (4 [agree] or 5 [strongly agree] on a positively worded statement, 2 [disagree] or 1 [strongly disagree] on a negatively worded statement).
The researcher designed Galatians: True Freedom – A Small Group Study for Couples to implement the new methodology to be evaluated. The quantitative data based on the pre- and post-course surveys provided the means to prove whether the three measures strengthened the marriages of the participating couples. The data supports the veracity of all three hypotheses (improved communication, improved conflict resolution, and increased overall marital satisfaction), showing strong growth in each measure, most notably with communication. These results led to the research conclusion: Yes, the methodology used in this eight-week, small group-based Bible study course for married couples developed for this applied research project did strengthen the marriage relationships of its participants.

Overcoming Obstacles to Churches Planting Churches

Author
Brent Frederick Burckart D.Min.
Abstract
The thesis of this dissertation is that existing churches can successfully overcome common obstacles to planting new churches when church leaders learn to adopt three vital practices: communicating a compelling vision for church planting to their congregations, cultivating a spirit of bold faith within their congregations, and implementing a sustainable church planting strategy for their congregations.

The literature review will survey some of the key literature and research on church planting generally and on the mother-daughter model of church planting specifically. Using the case study method, three churches that have successfully overcome obstacles to develop an ongoing rhythm of planting daughter churches will be analyzed through interviews and surveys. From the findings of these cases, applications will be drawn to assist other churches seeking to regularly plant daughter churches.
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