Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Helping People to Experience Spiritual Healing of Painful Life Experiences

Author
Brian Smilde D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry Major Project was intended to assess the extent to which people experience spiritual healing of past wounds through a series of small group gatherings focused on teaching and experiencing the spiritual healing of Jesus Christ.

The project began with identifying the biblical and theological foundation for Jesus healing people from their wounds—not only physical but also emotional or spiritual. Then examining what people in other disciplines—such as social science, counseling, and business—also think, believe and teach about healing or restoration from past wounds.

The intervention involved a small group of six participants experiencing a series of eight small group gatherings. They filled out a Pre-Group and Post-Group Questionnaire. After five small group gatherings of teaching, experiencing and praying, there were two Focus Groups which allowed the participants to share feedback about what they learned, experienced and thought.

The data from the two Questionnaires and the Focus Groups was analyzed in order to assess the effectiveness of these small group gatherings to lead participants toward the spiritual healing of Jesus Christ. The result of this analysis was that participants were helped to identify past wounds or traumas, they felt safe to share honestly and vulnerably with the other group participants, they felt that others responded with grace and empathy, and they reflectively and personally applied the teaching in ways that allowed them to experience Jesus release them from past pain.

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.

THE NECESSITY OF GOSPEL-CENTERED PREACHING IN KOREAN CHURCHES: THE PROBLEM OF CONFUCIANISM AMONG KOREAN CHRISTIANS

Author
Samuel No Cheol Park D.Min.
Abstract
The Korean Church is experiencing a very sudden and serious collapse. There can be many sound reasons for its collapse, however, the most critical problem is Confucianism that is deeply rooted in the Korean Church from the beginning to today. All the power that the church needs comes from the true gospel, but Confucianism in the Korean Church hindered the true Gospel to be the Gospel. Therefore, this major project defines the biblical meaning of the true gospel and danger of changing gospel to other gospel just like what happened in the Galatian Church in Paul’s day. To identify the validity of the assertion of the project, the author chose three influential preachers in the Korean Church and received their answers for the five questions that the author carefully made up; and also received one sermon from each preacher to present criteria about the gospel-centered sermon along with author’s three sermons. As a result, it is true that Confucianism has been infiltrated into the Korean Church from the beginning of its history and created a legalistic atmosphere and brought the absence of the power of the true gospel. All three preachers agreed with the author that Confucianism must be eradicated from the Korean Church, and Korean preachers must start to preach the true gospel to bring the life of Christ abundant in the Korean Church.

Cruciformational Discipleship: A Leader Training Program for Producing a Fruitful Missional Ministry for the University City Chinese Christian Church

Author
Tony Liang D.Min.
Abstract
The mission of the church was expressed as to build a fruitful cruciformational community of Christ that glorifies God. To do that in the postmodern and post Christendom age, a missional church would need the full utilization of the ministry of the Word. in all its forms for all levels, from personal to congregational. It required developing ministry expressions that properly adapt to the very complex and rapidly changed ministry context, and at the same time that ensured these expressions to be firmly rooted in the Biblical foundation and centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The theological vision that was derived from the theological framework for the given ministry context was key to fulfill that purpose effectively. This project was a discipleship training pilot program for all ministry leaders.

The program first presented to the trainees the big picture of how the ministry of the Word transformed the lives of believers as holy priests through the worshiping lives of the church to produce fruitful results. It then taught the trainees the process of utilizing it: to build the theological framework that was the foundation of ministry, to develop the ministry platforms that enabled effective ministry utilization, and to derive the theological vision that connected the Biblical foundation to the ministry expression for
given ministry contexts.

The results from the evaluation of the program showed that the project had reached the initial goals in understanding the basic concepts and their theological foundation. However, the program had too much content. Therefore, the trainees could not explore the three catalysts fully and had not reached one of the goals associated with them (to have the basic skill to apply those catalysts in ministry).

CONGREGATIONAL DIVERSITY AS A SPIRITUAL STRENGTH: RECOGNIZING OUR COMMON IDENTITY IN CHRIST IN THE BIBLICAL METANARRATIVE

Author
David Kosobucki D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to gauge the appreciation for diversity in the congregation of Horizon Christian Fellowship Central as a spiritual strength, based upon a common identity in Christ as expressed through the biblical metanarrative. The church in question is based near downtown Indianapolis. It is diverse from the standpoint of ethnicity or race as well as socioeconomically, meaning a full spectrum of class, income and educational levels are represented. It is also multigenerational, displaying an age range from high school students that come from the neighborhood without their parents to the elderly. Nonetheless, there are under 100 adults that attend on a typical Sunday, meaning this variety of people interacts on a constant basis.

The author delivered a fourteen-part series of teachings that went through the Bible from beginning to end. Seven messages came from the Old Testament and seven more from the New. These messages explored the themes of unity, diversity and our identity in Christ. The author concurrently led three rounds of focus groups consisting of three groups each, which met in homes to discuss the above themes as they appear throughout the Bible. Groups met before, during and after the teaching series.

In the focus groups, the church displayed an appreciation for the theme of diversity as it appears in the Bible. They seemed reluctant to speak in terms of the biblical metanarrative, though they saw the metanarrative as the foundation for their identity in Christ. They accepted this as their primary personal identity and something they shared with one another. Further, this congregation valued its own diversity, believing that it equipped them to relate and reach out to a greater variety of people. These views were reinforced rather than initiated by the teaching series, meaning people already held the views.

SUSTAINING A TRAINING MOVEMENT IN EXPOSITORY PREACHING IN TURKANA, KENYA

Author
Gary Kirst D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry project pertains to work that has been done in Turkana, Kenya, through the mission Share International, in training indigenous Turkana pastors in expository preaching using the curriculum called Bible Pathways (developed by Alan Lewis, Director of Pastoral Training, ReachGlobal/EFCA). This curriculum focuses on a hermeneutical method which first asks of any given text of Scripture: what did this mean to the original readers? And then, especially in light of the Bible’s salvation story, it asks: how should this text be preached to hearers today? This curriculum is very heavy on individual and group participation in interpreting and preparing to preach biblical texts.

The writer worked with a team of six other American pastors to train 14 Turkana pastors in this curriculum from 2015-2017. This project especially focuses on evaluating the transmittal of this curriculum: the training this first generation of graduates has done with a second generation. Through questionnaires, personal in-depth interviews, and follow-up conversations, it was found that all participants had indeed engaged in rigorous attempts at training a second generation. Their many joys and challenges were catalogued.

As this training movement would proceed into the future, with the hope of the Lord filling this spiritually and physically barren desert land with healthy, Word-based churches, led by men committed to preaching the whole counsel of God, the writer, at the request of the Turkana participants, has developed a companion Trainer’s Manual to go alongside the Bible Pathways curriculum. This manual particularly provides many specific examples of sound interpretation, something that is lacking in the printed curriculum, and was anticipated by the participants, who are now trainers themselves, to be very helpful in their ongoing training.

MATURING CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP THROUGH TIMES OF SUFFERING: A STUDY IN AN AMERICAN MIDWEST CONGREGATION - NEW HOPE CHURCH; ADEL, IOWA

Author
Thomas Hein D.Min.
Abstract
The project identifies some of the ways Christians grow in maturity during times of suffering. During these times some Christians grow in maturity, while others experience a setback in their spiritual growth. This is a pastoral study, meaning that it is primarily concerned with observation and analysis of the discipleship process in the lives of Christian believers. The project evaluates true and false beliefs about God and spiritual life that occur during the process of suffering in the lives of New Hope Evangelical Free Church (Adel, Iowa) adult believers. Fifty-seven church members answered questions in a quantitative survey inquiring about their spiritual life before and after their time of suffering. Interviews were conducted with fifteen of the survey participants for more in depth evaluation of their spiritual disciplines, attitudes, and beliefs.

The study evaluated some false beliefs about God and spiritual life that Christians may develop during times of suffering. In addition, the study evaluated what true beliefs about God and spiritual life sustained believers during times of trial. Finally, the study evaluated what spiritual disciplines helped people move toward greater spiritual maturity during a season of suffering.

The practical application outcome of the study is a small group workbook entitled, A Journey through Suffering: Processing the Painful Experiences of Life. This resource is designed to be an exegetical devotional guide to help people reflect on their suffering in the context of a biblical metanarrative. Prayerful reflection will potentially lead toward maturing discipleship that glorifies God.

LET THE ANCIENT STORIES LIVE: USING NARRATIVE ANALYSIS AND A CHRIST-CENTERED HERMENEUTIC FOR PREACHING OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVES

Author
Mark Pluimer D.Min.
Abstract
This project sought to increase the competence of preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative. To achieve this goal, the project explored mainly two key topics: narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic. Guided by the principles and tools of narrative analysis, preachers and Bible teachers are able to discern the main message of narratives as originally intended by the biblical author. Guided by the principles and tools of a Christ-centered hermeneutic, preachers and Bible teachers are able to connect the message of narratives to Christ authentically, without distorting or violating the original intent of the narrative. These considerations of narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic culminated in a working three-step method for handling Old Testament narratives faithfully in preaching or teaching.

The project implemented the proposed principles by developing a manual, the content of which was taught in a twelve-hour course to a group of preachers and Bible teachers. Pre-course competence was assessed and compared to post-course competence by means of a focus group, surveys, a course evaluation, and written work on assigned Old Testament narrative texts.

The results showed a demonstrable increase in competence among participants. The principles and tools presented in the manual/course were shown to be valuable for helping preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative.

GUIDELINES FOR MOBILIZING CHINESE BI-VOCATIONAL KINGDOM WORKERS FOR THE NEWLY OPENING BELT ROAD COUNTRIES

Author
R. Strickler D.Min.
Abstract
The project set out to discover guidelines for how to best prepare Chinese bi-vocational Kingdom Workers to work and live missionally wherever God leads them. Of particular interest to the emerging missions candidates from China are Muslim peoples spread throughout the countries aligned with the emerging Belt Road Initiative.

A review of international marketplace ministry and business as mission practices was undertaken. The project research focuses on a sample of existing Chinese-led Business as Mission enterprises. Interviews were conducted with ten different Chinese executives or owners, located in seven different countries, including China proper.

Information on why companies chose to locate in an area and how the leaders were prepared, was elicited. Some correlation was made as to how the Chinese BAM companies conduct their businesses compared to the international BAM movement.

There was convergence between the two streams, and at the same time several distinct issues and opportunities emerged for the preparation of future Chinese workers. Among these are: solid teaching on the theology of work for both candidates and senders; the need for life-on- life discipleship training prior to going out; for those inexperienced in BAM or marketplace ministry, the recommendation for apprenticeship with an existing company prior to being deployed; and, the opportunity for Chinese BAM companies to capitalize on emerging green technologies.

The findings from these interviews provides material that will be used by the writer, his agency, and partners, in the preparation of bi-vocational Kingdom Workers. This will help new appointees they are coaching to live and work most effectively as they answer the call to go to unreached peoples in the newly opened Belt Road countries.

DEVELOPING A STRATEGIC PLAN FOR CAMPUS MINISTRY TO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS AT CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY--ANN ARBOR

Author
Ryan Peterson D.Min.
Abstract
Concordia University, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has always had a strong commitment to a Christ-centered ministry. But with a changing student body and an awareness of the changing needs of the millennial generation, it is clear that deliberate and intentional planning for ministry is needed. This major project has sought to consider the historical issues surrounding campus ministry, as well as the theological and biblical issues that undergird the ministry, in order to develop a strategic plan for campus ministry to undergraduate students.

This project focused on achieving four primary goals. The first goal was seeking to understand the values, ideals, influences, and preferences of the millennial generation. The second goal was to identify the five to seven greatest spiritual challenges facing the students at Concordia University--Ann Arbor. The third goal was to analyze and synthesize the findings from the identified challenges and SWOT analysis. Finally, the fourth goal was to describe the strategic plan for campus ministry at Concordia University--Ann Arbor.

The field research focused on three specific areas: writing a campus culture narrative based on three student focus groups, completing a SWOT analysis of current campus ministry programming by students, faculty, and staff, and then identifying the specific spiritual challenges facing our current students through a Delphi survey. Finally, a strategic plan with strategies, objectives, and tactics was completed and presented to the president of the university for his approval. The effectiveness of the field research components was evaluated, and each of the four goals of the major project have been achieved.
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