Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

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.

Developing a Battle Plan for Spiritual Warfare with the Men of Crossroads Presbyterian Church

Author
Donald Sampson D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to investigate the topic of spiritual warfare and assess the level of understanding of it among the men of a Presbyterian congregation in order to develop a plan to enable the men to engage in spiritual battles with the world, the flesh and the devil. The project included a biblical and theological study, followed by interviews with a select sample of men from the congregation. Qualitative analysis revealed some confusion over the phrase “spiritual warfare.” Additional themes that emerged from the interviews included a high degree of awareness of temptations of the flesh as an ongoing source of spiritual struggles and a strong belief that Satan is real. This latter belief was tempered by widespread uncertainty over the relevance of Satan, or any demonic influence, due to a very high conviction about the sovereignty of God. A recognition of the importance of enlisting other men for help in fighting spiritual battles was also a significant theme. While the men interviewed identified the value of having “battle buddy” type relationships, they readily acknowledged the absence of such relationships. Quantitative research via a confidential, online survey confirmed a low level of self-disclosure among the men of the congregation.

A STRATEGIC AND SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO EVALUATING AND ENHANCING CHURCH STAFF PERFORMANCE

Author
Steven Bray D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this Doctor of Ministry project was to create an annual staff development plan for Fountain City Wesleyan Church which focused on both improving effectiveness in performance and encouraging personal, professional and spiritual development. Fountain City Wesleyan is a church of 1000 with nine full-time pastors and ministry directors. The project highlighted the powerful impact of combining goal setting, coaching, and evaluation to develop team members. In addition, the project concluded that high performance expectations can be countered by high care for team members.

This project conducted two case studies of similar churches to Fountain City Wesleyan Church. The project explored the biblical and theological basis for staff development including the identification of twelve biblical principles. The literature review analyzed three components of the annual development plan: crafting an action plan utilizing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Relevant and Timed) goals and strategies; regular coaching sessions; and an annual review process to provide additional performance conversation and formal documentation of employee performance.

This plan included a guide to create an action plan each trimester, the implementation schedule for the plan, a model for coaching staff (Connect, Opportunity, Alternatives, Course, Highlights), an annual self-review and performance review. Additionally, supplemental avenues to promote self-care among staff were identified. The final plan, tips and tools for coaching, tools for diagnosing development needs, and the research protocol are noted in the appendices.

Preaching Post-Disaster: An Examination of Preaching and Preachers in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Author
Trent Henderson D.Min.
Abstract
Preaching in a post-disaster context is one of the most challenging assignments for a pastor. Throughout the Scriptures and history, there are multiple examples of those who were called to that challenging and lonely task. This project developed a framework for preaching in the post-disaster context, based on analysis of sermons preached on the Sunday following the 2017 landfall of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and interviews of the pastors who preached those sermons. This project also includes analysis and synthesis of data from surveys. As part of the framework constructed, suggested sermon outlines are included for preachers facing this daunting task.

Preaching to the Heart: Investigating Theory and Practice Among Sydney Anglican Preachers

Author
Andrew Katay D.Min.
Abstract
This project explores the theory and practice of preaching to the heart. Biblically, the heart is a focal point both of the content of transformation in Christ, and the motivating power by which transformation takes place. To understand the nature and operations of the heart, first Scripture, and then secondarily three ‘theologians of the heart’ - Augustine, Aquinas and Jonathan Edwards - are examined. Subsequently, seven principles are elucidated to preach to the heart. This theory is used to analyze ten sermons from each of eight preachers. The study concludes with a program to better equip preachers to preach to the heart.

Youth Ministry Planning Tool for Smaller Churches

Author
Nathan Opsata D.Min.
Abstract
This major project created a step-by-step process to help youth ministry leaders plan their youth ministry year. The planning tool was especially designed to guide volunteer-led teams of smaller churches through the planning process in a systematic and complete way by recognizing the strengths and limitations of smaller churches and volunteer leaders. The main deliverables of the step-by-step planning process were to evaluate existing programming, divide the leadership team according to gifting, and to develop a set of guiding documents, including a directory, programming calendar, weekly template with job descriptions, and teaching schedule.

Five smaller evangelical churches were given the tool prior to planning their programming. Interviewing leaders from these youth ministry teams revealed that the tool was helpful in each church, especially for evaluating the success of programming objectives and generating ideas of changes to make. However, the step-by-step process did not allow teams to easily select which components they wished to use and was difficult to adapt for solo-led youth ministries. Furthermore, some ministries and leaders resisted implementing the systems-approach, especially formal job descriptions, in their smaller, family-style ministries.

Assessing, Identifying and Cultivating Ministries Toward a Mature Holistic Process of Disciple Making

Author
Brian Cederquist D.Min.
Abstract
Although discipleship seems to be a current buzzword in ministry today, it is more than just a current fad. Discipleship is deeply rooted in scripture. Even at a cursory look, one can easily see its importance to the church. This is why many pastors and churches have found themselves actively pursuing growth in this area. There have been countless books, studies, programs, and training opportunities available for pastors and churches to educate their people about discipleship. However, the process of evaluating one’s effectiveness in discipleship is often a piece of the puzzle that is left out. This project journals one churches process of defining, assessing, and cultivating their holistic process of disciple making. As you continue to lead your church through this process of evaluation, you may find this research helpful to your process. No two churches are alike, and no two evaluations will be identical. Please use this as a launching point for your own churches evaluation process.

A STUDY OF SERMON APPLICATION ACROSS BIBLICAL GENRES AT FAITH BIBLE CHURCH

Author
Trevor Nunn D.Min.
Abstract
This project developed strategies to sermon application across the biblical genres of poetry, narrative, parables and epistles. The strategies had two goals: (1) enhance the congregants’ biblical understanding of the text while growing them in Christ; (2) improve the quality of sermon applications in the project writer’s preaching. To achieve these goals, this project reviewed hermeneutical topics to create a definition of expository preaching. Based on the definition, a questionnaire evaluated the success of the strategies through a pre/post format of the project writer’s sermons. Conclusions to their success were based upon positive or negative changes within the data.


A demonstrated methodology for preaching narrative pericopes with integrity by moving exegesis through theology into application

Author
James J Daley
Abstract
Homiletical theory has traditionally focused on a two-world paradigm-from what the text meant back then to what it means today. This project proposes an additional step in the movement from text to praxis via the intermediary of the theological focus for all types of literature, but especially for narrative. To test the effectiveness of this methodology, a five-part preaching series from the book of Ruth was evaluated to determine the model's effectiveness. Although the model was generally effective in producing a true application, the model is still limited by the exegetical and theological inputs of the interpreter.
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