Wesley Theological Seminary

Wellsprings in the wilderness : forming shared ministries as a United Methodist renewal strategy

Author
Kevin R. Conrad
Abstract
In our current situation, named an ecclesial and cultural wilderness, a return to the wellsprings of theology as a source of ecclesial renewal is essential. In the tradition of Wesleyan practical divinity, the project focuses on formation of cooperative parishes as a theologically sound means of reordering the life of the church with the hope of missional renewal. The outcome of the project demonstrates how ecclesial and theological renewal complement each other. The author researched how formation of intentional Christian community can unleash new missional connection and capacity in a rural setting.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Cultivating God's farm : using agricultural and biblical stories and seasons to re-seed hope in small rural churches

Author
Rebecca Leigh Collison
Abstract
Through linking agrarian, biblical, and small rural church stories from the lens of farming the land, spiritual growth can be initiated and hope restored to the struggling small rural church. This project was conducted through small group study and discussion in small rural churches in a district of the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church. Specific attention was given to one small church over a two-year period where qualitative and quantitative growth was realized as the individuals reclaimed their roots in God’s story and planted seeds of hope through rich layers of shared faith and stories.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Graceful adjustments : financial decline and staff downsizing in congregations

Author
Michelle Collins
Abstract
It’s no secret that religious institutions in the United States are facing unprecedented challenges. Membership levels, participation, and financial giving and support are shifting. Congregations often struggle to keep up with the rate of the change. Nowhere is this truer than in the financial realm, especially when they must consider downsizing their staff. This project examines classic staffing models, situations where downsizing has taken place, and a process for addressing staff transition times strategically. These help to address the challenge of how congregations can adjust with grace and thrive in the face of declining resources and changing realities.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Integrating spirituality and health in an urban setting

Author
William E. Coleman Jr.
Abstract
This project is a collection of writings and discussions by Biblical scholars, scriptural support, testimonies and practices that develop a blueprint for integrating spirituality, religion and health; and can be a tool for other churches to use when starting and sustaining a health and wholeness ministry as a way for both sanctification and community outreach. It is a redirecting of the course Jesus declared for the continuous journey of faith, health and community. This author shares journals written about the lack of trust the African American culture had about doctors and hospitals dating back to slavery.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

The calls of caring project of Masan Central Methodist Church for personal and social holiness in Wesleyan tradition

Author
Jinkyo Chung
Abstract
This paper studied on the process of individual and social holiness through the ‘Calls of Caring’ project of Masan Central Methodist Church. The author examines how both the counseling volunteer and counselee grows throughout the service, and whether it can be a model of Wesley's Social sanctification. The author conducts paper surveys and face to face interviews, thus finding the possibility of becoming a model of social ministry to contemporary churches.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Rediscovering lament : a five week study to help recover a lost practice of the faith

Author
Mark N. J. Charles
Abstract
Knowledge and understanding of biblical lament has been all but lost in the 21st century western church. This loss is a costly one. What kind of engagement with sermons, liturgies, and bible study will help 21st century western Christians recover this lost practice? In this project, the author outlines a five week study experience designed to introduce participants to lament, and help them experience it using bible study, responsive prayer, bibliodrama, and song. Participants from five churches took part in the program. Their responses suggest that rediscovering lament is both possible and needed.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Focusing the local congregation on missional discipleship as a means of congregational renewal

Author
Joseph Jathaniel Cavitt
Abstract
How can the vitality of Colonial Park United Methodist Church be impacted by a central focus on a practical theology of missional discipleship as it is implemented in the life of the church? The author’s project focused on a practical theology of missional discipleship during the first eighteen months of his pastoral appointment working to develop spiritual leadership and missionally reorienting this congregation. Through listening sessions, classes, training, and organizational restructuring processes, the congregation has grown in mission and has shown statistical growth indicating a beginning of a turnaround.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Mystic sweet communion : holy conversation and the sanctification of the church

Author
Carol T. Cavin-Dillon
Abstract
The United Methodist Church is in crisis. For nearly fifty years its members have struggled to find consensus around the inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the life of the church. When congregations, Annual and General Conferences are tasked with voting, polarization deepens. However, when Christians gather for holy conversation, where there is genuine listening and open sharing, the result is often an awareness of deeper unity. This paper explores how holy conversation affected two different congregations. The author offers this model in the hope that it will help other congregations to remain committed to one another and to the Church.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Nehemiah leads the way : finding hope during congregational crisis

Author
Kristen Ann Burkhart
Abstract
Leading a congregation through a church crisis is an adaptive leadership challenge. What kinds of practical pastoral leadership steps does it take to help a church recover from a crisis and refocus mission and ministry? How is a wounded congregation led into hope-filled healing? Researching the congregation’s social context and history gives insight into the need for refocused mission and ministry. Preaching an eight-week sermon series on Nehemiah and processing it through narrative research and focused ministry action established the foundation for a wounded congregation to rebuild. Adapting change to the church committee structure provides renewal and creates space to received hope-filled healing as culture is shifted from internal to external, from “us” to “Christ.”

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Revive us again : a holistic leadership development module for lay leaders in transition

Author
Kellie V. Hayes
Abstract
Revive Us Again: A Holistic Leadership Development Module for Lay Leaders in Transition examines the efficacy of implementing holistic leadership development curricula empowering and energizing lay leaders experiencing crisis and transition. It presents research conducted through 1. Questionnaire ascertaining current assessment of leadership development. 2. Focus Group to determine preset culture 3. Direct Observation of leader’s behavioral patterns during gatherings and discharging responsibilities. 4. Feedback following intervention for impact, and 5. Narrative research documenting experience and changes. The feedback showed marked improvement in morale, comprehension and cohesiveness. Holistic leadership development modules can produce self-aware and spirit-led lay leaders who are resilient in transition.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]
Subscribe to Wesley Theological Seminary