Dallas Theological Seminary

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.

An Evaluation of the Efficacy of E-Learning on Marital Conflict

Ly Hai Tran D.Min.
Despite the availability of quality evidence-based interventions like certain therapies and relationship-educational resources, marital strain and divorce continue to be problems in the U.S. and around the world today. Among the number of reasons couples seek dissolution or suffer through years of dissatisfaction, conflict and poor communication skills stand out as not only one of the main common denominators but the issue that prevents all the other problems from being addressed. Therapy and education are readily available, but several barriers prevent couples from taking advantage of such resources: financial limitations, accessibility or knowledge of the resources, or social stigma reasons.

Technology and the trending availability of online resources present an opportunity to bridge existing help resources for couples with e-learning platforms that may creatively overcome such barriers. Can e-learning and online marital education resources on critical issues like conflict resolution help to improve marriages?

This study, which followed eight individuals as they went through an online educational course on marital conflict, determined that, if left on their own without any additional help and with only the course to guide them, they could experience notable improvements in their marriage using e-learning marital resources. This finding opens the door to future research and numerous application questions as online delivery platforms are capable of dramatically outpacing the financial and scalability constraints of traditional in-person marriage therapy and relationship education.

Evaluating a Biblical Program for Family Education in Cleansing Stream Ministries

Aijia Song D.Ed.Min.
This thesis is divided into five chapters. The first chapter is the introduction. The introduction contains the purpose and questions of the thesis research, the design of questionnaire content and the analysis of the research results, and also the expected results, the research methods, and the basic concepts of the thesis. The second chapter is the biblical research and literature research, which includes the biblical foundation, theological foundation, philosophical foundation and literature review of the education in family. The third chapter is the process and methods of the research, which is the core content of this thesis. This chapter contains the reasons, questions, hypotheses, methods of the research, as well as the evaluation and assessment tools, the processes and detailed reports of the research. The fourth chapter is the results and analysis of the research. This chapter is also the focus of the thesis. Including three hypothetical results of the research and their corresponding detailed analysis, and the Bible-based Family Education Course in Cleansing Stream Ministry, which helps the education in family now existing. The fifth chapter is the conclusion and application part. This part, as a summary, presents the results of the research of the thesis and further research suggestions. At the end of the thesis is the attachment and bibliography.

Identificación de las Estrategias Para Acompañar a la Familia Pastoral Que Ha Sido Herida Emocional y Espiritualmente por Miembros de Sus Congregaciones

Alejandro Roque D.Min.
Se han hecho estudios acerca de pastores heridos que eventualmente abandonaron el ministerio. Sin embargo, poco se ha trabajado en la investigación acerca de la familia pastoral herida emocional y espiritualmente por miembros de sus congregaciones y de las estrategias de acompañamiento pastoral que les restaure exitosamente como familia y al ministerio.

El enfoque de este proyecto ha sido investigar y encontrar las estrategias de acompañamiento a la familia pastoral que ha sido herida y afectada de manera negativa. Las heridas emocionales y espirituales provocaron que algunos pastores y sus familias abandonaran el ministerio, la iglesia y en algunos casos hasta la separación o divorcio. La narrativa del proyecto habla acerca del impacto de las adversidades causantes de las heridas y del resultado en la vida de la familia de los pastores entrevistados.

En este proyecto se entrevistó a ocho pastores. Las familias de estos pastores fueron impactadas negativamente por los problemas ocasionados por miembros de sus congregaciones lo que les causó heridas emocionales y espirituales. Debido a los problemas en sus congregaciones, los pastores enfrentan múltiples presiones y exigencies de parte de sus iglesias, y las heridas emocionales y espirituales que esto les causa no han sido tratadas debidamente. La familia pastoral herida no ha recibido, por parte de sus denominaciones, el apoyo espiritual y emocional que les conduzca hacia la restauración. Por esta razón, se ha encontrado la necesidad de este proyecto: el encontrar estrategias de acompañamiento para traer sanidad a la familia pastoral.

Este trabajo de investigación incluye las estrategias de acompañamiento que ayudarán de una manera efectiva a que los pastores sean restaurados emocional y espiritualmente.

Identificación de Factores Que Contribuyen al Crecimiento de ta Sede Hispanohablante del Modelo Multisitio de Grace Church, in Greenville, Carolina del Sur.

Robby Richard D.Min.
El objetivo de la presente investigación es identificar los factores, desde la perspectiva del liderazgo de la iglesia, que contribuyen al crecimiento de la sede hispanohablante de Grace Church, en Greenville, Carolina del Sur, EE. UU., y, por ende, que contribuyen al alcance de la comunidad hispanohablante en su contexto con el evangelio.

El modelo de iglesia multisitio está formado por congregaciones que se consideran parte de una misma iglesia local y se reúnen en diferentes lugares geográficos y espacios físicos. A pesar de que no cuenta con una larga trayectoria de años, ya ha evidenciado signos positivos de eficacia para el alcance evangelístico de diversas comunidades pluriculturales. Estas huellas de competencia del modelo se hacen visibles en resultados observables en la experiencia práctica de su aplicación y en datos disponibles en diversas fuentes.

La presente investigación reveló que los factores propuestos en las hipótesis formuladas son, en efecto, válidos. Además, aportó información valiosa sobre otras dos características específicas del ámbito organizacional y eclesial que fortalecen la relación entre la sede hispanohablante y la iglesia anglohablante. Estas constituyen la base esencial para la efectividad de los elementos propuestos en las hipótesis.

Para aquellas iglesias que deseen implementar el modelo multisitio, es recomendable tomar en cuenta el entorno demográfico donde se desea abrir una sede, las características propias del tipo de la comunidad eclesial que se desea, y los principios únicos que cimientan toda comunidad hispana.

The Dynamics of Spiritual Formation: Selected Case Studies on Christian Marital Health and its Contribution to Child Spiritual Formation

John Henry Peterson Jr. D.Ed.Min.
Baptist Minister, William Tiptaft coined this relevant declaration, “Children take more notice of what their parents do, than what they say.” Actions speak louder than words. Psychologist Albert Bandura would echo the same sentiment based upon his Bobo Doll experimentation. According to Bandura, people learn through observation, imitation, and modeling. The problem is more about what is not happening in the Christian home than what is happening in the Churches. Thus, the need to investigate the dynamic characteristics of healthy Christian marriages and the influence they have on the spiritual formation in children is a worthy study. This research will not examine the cause and effect of unhealthy marital relationships, but rather focus attention on healthy examples to extrapolate data promoting spiritual formation. The Christian husband and wife relationship plays a significant role in the spiritual formation in children. Children growing up in a family where parents consistently modeled a healthy Christian marriage are more likely to embrace a similar biblical worldview as their parents. Children who grew up in a home where a healthy Christian marriage exist will most likely take ownership of their own faith and spiritual growth as adults. Christian individuals who have parents who demonstrate healthy Christian marriages will be the participants in this study. The individuals interviewed will vary in how they perceive the influence of their parent’s marital relationship in their spiritual growth. The individuals interviewed will identify similarities between their view of life and their parents shared views. The individuals interviewed will exhibit an ongoing desire to maintain an intimate relationship with God and their spouse.

The Development and Evaluation of a Master’s Level Spiritual Formation Course at International Leadership University Kenya

Gary Lenox McKnight D.Min.
This research project evaluates the effectiveness of a redesigned master’s course in spiritual formation at promoting the spiritual formation of students at International Leadership University in Nairobi, Kenya. An intensive, two-week period of onsite instruction in Kenya would be followed by three months of student distance work. The redesign also incorporated more of what I had learned in my Doctor of Ministry studies in spiritual formation as well as my growing awareness of contextual factors in Kenya.

I argue that spiritual formation or transformation involves changes in the individual’s: (1) thinking (the cognitive domain); (2) feelings, attitudes, and values (the affective domain); and (3) behaviors (the behavioral or psychomotor domain). Thus, the effectiveness of the course redesign was evaluated based on evidence that participation led to increased (1) understanding of spiritual formation, (2) virtue in specific areas of character associated with spiritual formation, and (3) frequency of several specific types of behavior associated with spiritual formation.

The limited number of students enrolled in the class necessitated a qualitative approach to evaluation, so a focus group research design was chosen. Questions were designed for group discussion to solicit student feedback on course effectiveness. One discussion was held at the end of the two weeks of onsite instruction, while another was held at the end of the course. Additional information was obtained through self-report survey instruments administered at the beginning and end of the course to measure the students’ (1) understanding of spiritual formation, (2) virtue in specific areas of character associated with spiritual formation, and (3) frequency of several specific types of behavior associated with spiritual formation.

The responses to both the focus group questions and the survey instrument questions support the effectiveness of the redesigned course in promoting the spiritual formation of the students cognitively, affectively, and behaviorally.

An Evaluation of Arab Evangelistic Efforts of Jewish People in Israel

Moshe Loewenthal D.Min.
This applied research project aimed to evaluate the reasons why the Arab Christian body of believers in Israel does not evangelize Israeli Jews. This research consisted of three parts: (1) Clarification of theological views that hinder Jewish evangelism; (2) Surveys to detect the reasons why evangelism is not done; (3) Interviews with Arab leaders and one messianic pastor to gain their perspective on the reasons why Arab brothers and sisters are not evangelizing to the Jews.

This project had three hypotheses:

• There is a lack of Jewish Evangelism from the Arab Christians toward the Jewish people in Israel because of the difference in culture and politics.
• There is a lack of Jewish Evangelism from the Arab Christians toward the Jewish people in Israel because of a lack of knowledge in how to do it.
• There is a lack of evangelism from the Arab Christians toward the Jewish people in Israel because of their belief in replacement theology.

The first two surveys were given to Arab Christian leaders and believers of churches from Israel. The surveys focused on their spiritual life, politics, the land of Israel, and Zionism. They ended with asking about their engagement in Jewish evangelism. I hoped to discover whether Jewish evangelism exists and if not, why.

The surveys and interviews of the Arab leaders and pastors in Israel evaluated whether the hypotheses were correct and helped discover the next steps for change regarding Jewish evangelism from our Arab brothers and sisters in Israel. The surveys and interviews supported my hypotheses. Other issues that might hinder Arabs from sharing the gospel with Jews in Israel were found as well. These issues might become the foundation for other research projects.

Case Studies of Church Staff Cultures and Associated Factors that Contribute to the Spiritual Health of Full-Time Staff Members

Ed Johnson III D.Min.
According to this researcher, spiritual health, in the context of the Christian faith, is defined as: living a Christ-like lifestyle in thought, in speech and in actions (2 Tim 2:22; Titus 2:12), repenting and abstaining from personal sin (1 John 1:9; 1 Pet 2:11), and growing in communion, reverence and obedience to God (2 Pet 3:18; 1 Pet 1:2). The thesis of this doctoral dissertation is that there are factors within a church staff culture that impact spiritual health of full-time staff members.

At its core, this researcher posited three hypotheses to determine whether a church staff environment or ethos will positively contribute to the spiritual health of the employees who work therein: (1) An intentional ongoing investment in and evaluation of the spiritual health of staff members, (2) A sustained emphasis on both the relationship and task side of the spectrum in the day-to-day staff operations, and (3) A fundamental and predominate adoption of and alignment with biblical concepts and practices. A case study research method was selected for this project as a viable means by which to test the validity of these hypotheses. It examined the staff culture of three local American churches to analyze the results.

In the estimation of this researcher, numerous churches and pastors do not understand or have yet to realize the influence and impact a workplace culture has on their staff members’ spiritual well-being. Consequently, these types of churches and pastors tend not to have an intentional plan to establish or restructure said culture so that it positively contributes to the spiritual health of the staff. This applied research project seeks to bring awareness to this issue and to provide a way forward for churches and pastors to create, cultivate, and maintain staff cultures that foster spiritual health among their full-time staff members.

Factores Que Contribuyen a la Integración Entre el Conocimiento Teológico y la Madurez Espiritual en la Vida de la Facultad de Instituciones Teológicas

Elena Vazquez González D.Min.
Los docentes de las instituciones teológicas son personas que poseen el conocimiento teológico y necesitan continuar creciendo en su madurez espiritual.

La tesis central de este proyecto fue investigar cuáles son los factores que contribuyen a la integración entre el conocimiento teológico y la madurez espiritual en la vida de la facultad de instituciones teológicas. Las instituciones teológicas necesitan estar conscientes de la tendencia a la dicotomía entre el conocimiento teológico y la madurez espiritual en las facultades, y ante esta realidad deben buscar cómo implementar los factores que contribuyen a la integración entre ambos.

Este proyecto doctoral, al reconocer la existencia de la dicotomía entre el conocimiento teológico y la madurez espiritual en las instituciones teológicas, planteó la siguiente pregunta de investigación: ¿Qué factores pudieran contribuir a la integración entre el conocimiento teológico y la madurez espiritual en la vida de la facultad de instituciones teológicas? Para responder, se propusieron tres hipótesis acerca de los factores que contribuyen a la integración: (1) el primer factor es que las instituciones teológicas tengan como uno de sus valores institucionales la integración entre el conocimiento teológico y la madurez spiritual dentro de su facultad (2) el segundo factor es que las instituciones teológicas establezcan normas de que sus docentes sean modelo de vida íntegra al Señor (3) y el tercer factor es que las instituciones promuevan que los docentes tengan un mentor espiritual a quien le rindan cuentas

El resultado final de la investigación, el cual se obtuvo por medio de entrevistas fue el adecuado para comprobar la validez de las tres hipótesis.
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