Dallas Theological Seminary

An Evaluation of a Hermeneutics Course to Help Asian Seminarians Identify the Theological Thrust of a Biblical Narrative Passage for Expository Preaching

Patrick Chi Leung Wong D.Min.
Hermeneutics of biblical narratives for preaching has its unique challenge for preachers and seminary students. Biblical narratives are stories often without explicit statements of teaching. A review of literature shows that there are deficiencies in various traditional approaches in identifying the author-intended thrust of a biblical narrative such as looking for good or bad models, arbitrarily creating principles for applications, and presuming linkage to redemptive-history. On the other hand, a literary approach and the notion of authorial doing with saying in linguistics are promising to help the interpreters identify the author-intended pericopal theology for preaching.

It was hypothesized that by incorporating elements from the literary approach and notion of authorial doing in a hermeneutics course, the Asian seminary students might better identify the pericopal theology of a biblical narrative for preaching. The effectiveness of this approach was assessed in this research which was about program development and evaluation. Specifically, major changes were made to an existing basic hermeneutics course so that the students were introduced to key concepts and elements in the literary approach and notion of authorial doing with saying.

An instrument was developed to collect both quantitative and qualitative data to assess the effectiveness of the final modified course. The instrument includes a pre-test and a post-test to generate quantitative data, and an open-ended question to gather qualitative data. The instrument was administered to a group of participating Asian seminarians. The data collected was analyzed to validate the hypotheses of the research project. The data verified all three hypotheses and affirmed that attending this course is associated with higher ability and confidence of the students in identifying the theological thrust of a biblical narrative for preaching. The dissertation suggests that such training approach may prove beneficial to seminary students in preaching in other contexts.

Selected Case Studies Investigating the Principles of Visionary Leadership of the Senior Pastor in the Revitalization of a Declining Church

Ronnie L. Stanley Jr. D.Min.
As early as the 1980s, church growth specialists began to sound an alarm concerning the death, decline, and revitalization of churches. These specialists identified an association between pastoral leadership style, the presence of a compelling vision that identified how the church should look in the future and key actions that would result in the cessation of the decline and initiation of revitalization.

The readers will discover that there is an association between the visionary leadership of the pastor and the principles used to impact at least eight different spheres of the ministry that have been entrusted to him.

This dissertation defined “visionary leadership” as leadership that inspires people to change because of two things: the Senior Pastor’s model and message. The project will examine the role the of selected senior pastors and the impact of their visionary leadership on the revitalization of a declining church.

The primary means of investigation and research in this project was the use of eight case studies of pastors, which will assess their leadership style and its impact on revitalization. Some of these pastors entered their churches more than twenty years ago, and some began three years ago. In each case, their churches have experienced marked growth after a period of decline.

The literature review provided an informed approach to this project by examining sources that explored vision, vision communication, transformational leadership, outreach, assimilation, and church growth.

Sexual Shame in Women and How to Experience Freedom

Joy Pedrow Skarka D.Ed.Min.
This research project explores how Christian women have experienced sexual shame and how they have experienced freedom. Two surveys were created to explore the research question. The first survey was quantitative and was completed by 1,090 Christian women. Those who were 31–40 years old made up the majority at 30.73 percent, followed by those 23–30 years old who made up 30.46 percent. The second survey was qualitative and was completed by 44 Christian women. Of this number, 38.64 percent were 23–30 years old.

Two surveys designed by the researcher gathered both quantitative and qualitative responses with both closed and open-ended questions. The qualitative survey allowed women’s voices to be heard and their challenges to be known in regard to the sexual shame they have experienced. The quantitative survey provided statistics to prove that women struggle with sexual shame and show how they have found healing. The surveys asked questions about the woman’s life as a Christian, self-worth, and experience with sexual shame. These questions explored correlation of involvement in Christian activities with levels of freedom from shame. The questions also examined what experiences and factors caused women to experience sexual shame and what non-biblical sources and biblical sources led to freedom from sexual shame.

The survey results aligned with the three hypotheses to reveal that Christian women identified understanding the love and grace of God, being known in biblical community, and learning a biblical teaching of sexuality as three contributors to finding freedom from sexual shame.

An Analysis of the Biblical and Social View of Evangelical Adult Christian Women’s Self-Worth

Maggie Rodriguez D.Ed.Min.
This research project sought to analyze the biblical and social view of evangelical adult Christian women’s worth. A descriptive survey was designed to reveal reasons why evangelical adult Christian women struggle with their sense of self-worth. Hispanic, African American, Asian, and Anglo women provided valuable information regarding each group’s self-worth with respect to their family of origin, cultural background, community variables, and traumatic experiences.

The survey was designed by the researcher and generated a 78% response rate from 604 women. The results of the survey revealed that evangelical adult Christian women struggle with their self-worth and value. The study proved all four of its hypotheses to be true—that an evangelical adult Christian woman’s self-worth can be negatively influenced by her family of origin, culture, community, and past traumatic experiences.

In contrast, research, biblical examples, and survey responses support the truth that God created women in His image and that they reflect the “Imago Dei.”

A Strategy for the Church Planting Ministry of Seara Mission in Amazonas Brazil

Gary Wayne Parker D.Min.
This applied research project is intended to propose a strategy for planting churches in the unreached river communities in the Amazon region of Brazil. This strategy seeks to facilitate the planting of responsible and reproducing churches that can thrive under local leadership using local resources for generations to come. There are four hypotheses that guide this study: Balance in evangelism and discipleship in unreached communities must be maintained. Local leaders must be preserved for local churches without depending on external support. Cross-cultural missionaries must prepare local leaders to do the majority of the public teaching in the churches that are planted. Cross-cultural missionaries must train local leaders to be responsible for the leadership of the churches that are planted. These hypotheses were evaluated in the bibliographic and biblical research. The SEARA mission was researched to determine if these hypotheses are currently evident in the mission’s methodologies. The results of this research are presented followed by a proposed strategy to be implemented in the future.

A Doutrina da Trindade Orientando o Desenvolvimento Espiritual de Jovens em uma Sociedade Secularizada

Arthur Vinicius Gottlieb Lupion D.Min.
Esta dissertação propõe-se a criar e avaliar um programa curto de ensino da doutrina da Trindade, na busca de uma orientação ao desenvolvimento espiritual de um jovem cristão em uma sociedade secularizada. Com o intuito de compreender os aspectos contextuais, será avaliada a cultura do jovem atual e os impactos da alta conexão, de mudanças constantes e da fragmentação da verdade, que conduzem cada vez mais a uma vida de independência dos outros. Na busca para que a mais bela e perfeita comunidade não fique de lado, mas seja uma balizadora para reorientar o jovem pós-moderno.

Pretende-se apresentar os principais pontos a serem trabalhados no ensino da teologia da Trindade para estes jovens e como as relações intratrinitarianas podem orientar a sua vida em comunidade, já que a Trindade é uma comunidade que de eternidade a eternidade vive em perfeita unidade. Também foram trabalhados argumentos para capacitar o jovem a distinguir as falsas concepções da pós-modernidade que estão incutidas no nosso tempo, mas que são opostas à pessoa de Deus.

Em seguida, uma análise sobre metodologias contemporâneas para a educação teológica e aspectos da secularização atual. Posteriormente, foram avaliadas questões-chaves na orientação do desenvolvimento espiritual pela doutrina da Trindade, como a vida em comunidade e o desenvolvimento sexual.

A pesquisa foi aplicada no Uruguai, país mais secularizado do ocidente, por meio da missão TeachBeyond em parceria com igrejas locais do país, e a verificação da validade das variantes foi realizada por meio da metodologia de grupos focais.

Criteria for the Development of a Small Group Model for the Second Baptist Church Of Macaé

Ivis Costa Fernandes D.Min.
Many churches live in search of the new model of ecclesiastical functioning that will lead them to the proper care of the flock and to growth. Some varied from one model to the next, in an endless search. Others have been frustrated and are disappointed with the possibility of healthy growth. This is the reality of many churches regarding small group models. What will help churches to develop healthy small groups is a comprehensive understanding of the topic, from some essential perspectives.

The objective of the research was to identify criteria that would guide the Second Baptist Church of Macaé to build a new model of small group ministry suited to its reality and needs. The literature review pointed to six hypotheses of guiding criteria. From in-depth interviews with eight pastors and church leaders with strong small-group ministries, the hypotheses were confirmed.

The research concludes with a proposal of procedure for the implementation of the ministry in the church, as well as suggestions of themes for future studies, which can help in the deepening of practical questions of the research.

Los Factores que Ayudan a los Pastores Inmigrantes de Habla Hispana a Desarrollar un Ministerio Efectivo en Iglesias Hispanas en Los Ángeles

William Germán Cárcamo Ramos D.Min.
El tema de esta investigación es dar a conocer cuáles son los factores que ayudan a los pastores inmigrantes de habla hispana a desarrollar un ministerio efectivo en iglesias hispanas en Los Ángeles. Porque existe una cantidad de iglesias con pastores que están luchando día a día, para expandir el reino de Dios, y en su intento encuentran obstáculos, barreras de toda índole que surgen y afectan al pastor en su intento de avanzar.

La diversa representación cultural es un factor que existe en las congregaciones de Los Ángeles California que confronta el buscar modelos de superación, de ser efectivos, de hacer una labor Digna de Dios. En esta última década, pareciera que existe una confusión en el papel pastoral. Se observa una conducta mercantilista, por un lado, y por el otro, una posición religiosa sin fundamento.

Las propuestas de esta tesis se basarán en los resultados de una investigación realizada a pastores hispanos, que han estado en el campo de acción por muchos años, y atraviesan diversas problemáticas que no han sido visibilizadas y atendidas. El modelo a seguir será constructivo en base a una amplia investigación documental y de campo.

En esta tesis, el lector encontrará cuatro respuestas que ayuden al pastor a ser efectivo en su ministerio. Los factores mencionados son: 1) El pastor debe integrarse favorablemente a la diversidad cultural hispana de Los Ángeles California. 2) El pastor hispano debe tener un acompañamiento espiritual de otros pastores. 3) El pastor hispano debe aprovechar las oportunidades educativas para su superación. 4) El pastor hispano debe desarrollar nuevas capacidades pastorales ajustadas a la cultura de la iglesia hispana de Los Ángeles.

An Evaluation of the Major Key Factors Contributing to Marital Satisfaction of Korean American Couples Raising a Special Needs Child

Matthew B. Ahn D.Min.
This research was designed to answer the question “What are the major key factors contributing to marital satisfaction of Korean American couples raising a special needs child?” by examining the shared experiences expressed by three couples who enjoy satisfactory marriages. A popular myth holds that the marriages of most couples raising a special needs child end in divorce. However, numerous studies show this is not always the case; in fact, in many instances, raising a special needs child makes a couple’s marriages stronger. This study focused on researching and identifying key factors contributing to marital satisfaction among couples raising a special needs child. Previously, there has been little research done on this topic, a fact which inspired the researcher to look into this phenomenon. The discovery of these major factors will be helpful to couples raising special needs children, pastors, and marriage counselors.

To gather the necessary data for this study, three different methods were used. First, descriptive surveys were administered to discover qualified couples who fulfilled the established criteria. Second, the quantitative research method was employed through surveys that were used to identify key factors contributing to the marital satisfaction of the volunteering couples. Third, the qualitative research method was used through personal interviews with the selected couples to identify the major factors that contributed to their satisfaction in their marriages.

The results of this research support the association between marital satisfaction among Korean American couples raising a special needs child and communication, spirituality, and commitment. This study and its discoveries should provide valuable resources to pastors, leaders, and marriage counselors who are in a position to assist couples who struggle in their marriage while raising a special needs child.

An Evaluation of the Community Foundations Curriculum for Enhancing Interpersonal Relationships Among Church-Based Small Group Participants

Sten-Erik Armitage D.Min.
The purpose of this applied research project is to evaluate the Community Foundations curriculum in the context of the local church as a potential means to address the problems that emerge in the church through the foundation of the unscriptural societal value of individualism and the subsequent epidemic of loneliness. The project seeks to determine the overall effectiveness of the curriculum in three key areas: grounding the community in understanding the significance of what it is to be “in Christ,” providing opportunities for small groups to cultivate a desire to both know and be known within the context of a trusted community, and finally to cultivate an environment wherein a burden of care is embraced and felt within said community.

The research centers on qualitative interviews with participants in the Beta launch of the Community Foundations curriculum. The Beta launch occurred between Spring 2018 and Fall 2019. Three hypotheses geared around the key areas addressed above are presented and evaluated through the content of the recorded interviews.

The research results indicate deeper and more sustainable relationships were cultivated through these small group experiences as well as a new appreciation for the value of shared story in the context of community.
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