Dallas Theological Seminary

Development and Evaluation of a Program Related to the Liturgy of the Assembly Of God in Vila Velha, Brazil

Author
Cidrac Ferreira Fontes D.Min.
Abstract
The liturgy of a local church has a strong relationship with its identity. It is a fact that every church has a liturgy, and each worship service is liturgical, some more formal and others informal. Throughout a twenty-year pastorate in the same church, the researcher has noticed weaknesses with respect to the liturgy, and aspects of worship service (Commitment, reverence and participation).

The first objective of this research was to evaluate the level of understanding that believers in the Assembly of God Brazil have about liturgy and corporate worship. Another objective of the research was to develop a program related to improvement of various aspects of liturgy and corporate worship.

The literature review provided the necessary information for a better understanding of the meaning of liturgy and the value of corporate worship. This information provided the basis of the questionnaire and guided the researcher on the topic of studies during the seminar.

The researcher theorized a qualitative concept for each of the four hypotheses: a) Hypothesis-1: excellent; b) Hypothesis-2: good; c) Hypothesis-3: good; d) Hypothesis-4: excellent.

After conducting the evaluations and the seminar, the researcher identified the following final grades and concepts of qualities for the four hypotheses:
a) Hypotheses-1: Excellent – Final grade (4,5)
b) Hypothesis-2: Regular – Final grade (3,7)
c) Hypothesis-3: Good – Final grade (4,1)
d) Hypothesis-4: Excellent – Final grade (4,64)

Hypotheses 1, 3 and 4 had the result expected by the researcher. The hypotheses 1 and 4 had an excellent result and hypothesis 2 a good result. Although the hypotheses 2 did not obtain expected results, there was development. The statements that have assessed this hypothesis 2, suggested changes in the liturgy of the local church, this is a sensitive and controversial subject. The suggestion is for new evaluations and another seminar to promote changes on this hypothesis.

The Development and Evaluation of a Discipleship Program for the Beijing Yizhuang District

Author
Long Cheng D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
Before Jesus rises to heaven, he said to his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth. has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20) This is Jesus’ final commandment before risen to heaven. Jesus considers this great commandment very important. He expects his disciples to complete this comment faithfully, earnestly, and proactively. This is also the church that his followers gather, who carry forward this mission faithfully.

With many years of observation of church’s growth, I have found that some mega churches have very good church environment, abundant offering in number, but there are very few true disciples who can really live a life like Jesus, who are really willing to follow Jesus. Jesus has said to the fig tree by the roadside “May you never bear fruit again!” (Mt 21:19b) Many churches are like this fig tree with many leaves cover the tree. It looks very good from the outside, but it does not bear fruit. This is what Jesus hates.

With this study, I hope to explore a discipleship training, which will suit church and help disciples grow spiritually under biblical principles. I also hope that this training will help many other churches in the similar background.

Case Study on How Spiritual Maturity Benefits Soldiers While on Overseas Assignments

Author
Joshua A. Cannon D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
As the United States of America pushes further and further into secularization, the U.S. Army has followed suit. While many see this movement as a step in the right direction, many others do not. It is without doubt the Army has always had its issues with discipline; however, it is the overall epidemic of suicide and other high-risk behaviors that has the attention of the entire nation, forcing many to ask why. While many have accepted the belief or ideology that belief in God is antiquated and irrelevant in today’s modern age, many others are beginning to recognize a rise in high-risk behaviors, especially within those serving overseas. A preliminary look shows that those who devote themselves to their faith appear to benefit in ways that cannot be denied.

This dissertation examines the overall benefits of those soldiers that are spiritually mature and are considered to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The author will attempt to take aim to understand and counter the ideology that religion and belief in God is antiquated and irrelevant in today’s society leading to the belief that service members ought to follow suit. While the Army takes great initiative towards the mental and spiritual health of the soldier, it is without a doubt that one area of influence is being forced out. It is the focused approach towards faith in God as a benefit to many areas of a soldier’s life that is forcibly quieted, seen as a personal journey not to be discussed, and irrelevant to the overall force. The purpose of this study will be to examine spiritually mature soldiers and begin to understand the benefits of a deep relationship with God while serving on overseas assignments.

The Development and Evaluation of a Theological Commentary and Expository Sermon Series on Jonah Implementing Pericopal Theology and a Christiconic Hermeneutic

Author
Josiah D. Boyd D.Min.
Abstract
For the edification of God’s people, biblical preaching is essential (Eph 4:11–16), a divinely-mandated activity which assumes not only Scripture’s explanation but also its application. While much scholarly attention has been paid to the former facet (i.e., the move from text-to-theology), much less has been given to the latter (i.e., the move from theology-to-application). One homiletician, Abraham Kuruvilla, has recently attempted to fill this void by articulating and demonstrating a methodology through which a preacher can, with confidence and clarity, lead the people of God from the Bible to its intended, and thus binding, application. The aim of this research was to explore the effectiveness of his proposed theology and hermeneutic for the identification, development, communication, and reception of biblically-founded, theologically-valid, and hearer-relevant application.

Following the example of Kuruvilla, a theological commentary for preachers was developed for the book of Jonah and a subsequent four-week expository sermon series was preached. In order to assess the effectiveness of the proposed methodology for the developing, communicating, understanding, and applying of a biblical text, a selfadministered pretest and posttest survey was developed and distributed to volunteer participants which focused on both the content and applicational weight of the book. It was hypothesized that by the utilization of pericopal theology, a christiconic hermeneutic, and the subsequent preaching of an expository sermon series, there would be measurable growth in (1) knowledge of the biblical text, (2) understanding of the theology of the biblical text, and (3) discernment of the divine demand placed upon God’s people through the biblical text. The instrument provided quantitative data that was analyzed and evaluated and which, ultimately, verified all three hypotheses affirming that the utilization of pericopal theology and a christiconic hermeneutic demonstrates an associated and significant increase in biblical knowledge, theological understanding, and applicational discernment among the participants.

Factores Que Promueven Una Pastoral Integral Hacia el Inmigrante Indocumentado en las Iglesias en el Valle de San Gabriel en el Condado de Los Ángeles

Author
Héctor Alas D.Min.
Abstract
El movimiento migratorio desde cualquier punto del planeta hacia los Estados Unidos es una realidad de dimensiones gigantescas. La complejidad de este fenómeno es tal, que ha llevado a las oficinas del gobierno norteamericano a repensar sus políticas, tanto internas para los que ya se encuentran en el país, como para los que buscan aventurarse intentando llegar. Pero no son los únicos, también ha desatado una incertidumbre generalizada para los que ofrecen sus servicios legales en el manejo de los procesos para formalizar su documentación.

La iglesia cristiana no es la excepción dentro de esa complejidad. Como tal, por su misión esencial hacia el prójimo, por encima de cualquier tendencia política, está llamada a mostrar el corazón de Dios hacia el inmigrante en maneras concretas. Para encaminar a la iglesia en su desafío hacia una pastoral integral a favor del inmigrante, se investigarán los factores que contribuyen a lograrla. Los instrumentos que facilitarán la investigación serán encuestas y estudios de casos. Lo anterior permitirá recabar la información de lo que se hace actualmente, y determinará también lo que podría hacerse en la amplitud que se desprende a partir de lo que la Biblia propone.

Al término de la investigación se ofrecerán 3 factores indispensables para que la iglesia cumpla con su misión pastoral de manera integral en un contexto multicultural. Los factores aludidos son los siguientes: 1) el entendimiento de la misión integral prescrita en la Biblia, 2) la implementación de ministerios de misericordia a favor de los inmigrantes indocumentados, 3) la promoción de alianzas estratégicas con organizaciones que realizan una pastoral integral.

An Exploration of African American Pastors Use of Spiritual Disciplines to Combat Spiritual Burnout

Author
Herman L. Baxter Sr. D.Min.
Abstract
Leading in ministry can be a challenging job. The struggle to fulfill a divine calling while being human leaves no rest for the weary. African American pastor is no exception. These spiritual leaders often experience spiritual dryness – stress, and burnout - due to excessive demands that may lead to physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion. Days run into nights and, as they say in Broadway, “the show must go on” for most pastors every week. Many weary pastors combat spiritual dryness – fatigue, burnout, depression, and more – longing for more “peace that surpasses all understanding.” It is no wonder that some pastors do not remain in the ministry after five years. Trying to minister in this state is not ideal, yet many pastors remain resilient.

Throughout the history of the Christian church, practicing spiritual disciplines have been a means to spiritual renewal. However, across the United States, these practices to combat spiritual dryness are done a little differently in predominately African American led churches.

This study will gather qualitative research through in-depth interviews to discover how seven selected African American senior pastors combat spiritual dryness. The interview questions noted circumstances for times of spiritual dryness, the pastors’ experiences through spiritual dryness, and the process to combat spiritual dryness. This understanding helped these African American pastors overcome spiritual dryness. Interview responses will produce common themes and confirm three significant elements to combating spiritual dryness. First, the participants will identify different spiritual discipline practices for other times of spiritual dryness. Next, they will concur that upholding a robust biblical discipline is needed to prepare for times of spiritual burnout. Finally, participants will verify that a healthy dependence on God is required to maintain spiritual wellness. This project concludes with the participants’ suggestions for how newly assigned Christian leaders can most effectively combat spiritual dryness.

Factores Clave Para La Revitalización Espiritual Y Numérica De Las Iglesias Bautistas Hispanas En El Condado De Dallas

Abstract
El propósito de este proyecto de disertación es presentar los factores clave para la revitalización de las iglesias bautistas hispanas en el condado de Dallas. El autor seleccionó este tema por tres razones primordiales: (1) El estancamiento y declive de las iglesias bautistas hispanas ha aumentado considerablemente; (2) El análisis de dos modelos de iglesias que han experimentado revitalización puede ser de gran ayuda para entender las estrategias de crecimiento, y (3) La esperanza en la revitalización de iglesias existe al implementar mecanismos internos adheridos con las estrategias de crecimiento espiritual y numérico. El cuerpo de la disertación presenta las hipótesis que tienen que ver con los factores clave para la revitalización de las iglesias bautistas hispanas en el condado de Dallas. Estos factores representan las razones por las cuales una iglesia necesita examinarse con la finalidad de priorizar sus objetivos y revitalizar su ministerio. Los apéndices delinean los pasos a seguir para lograr tales objetivos.

Understanding Modern-Day Christian Immigrant Women’s Stories through the Book of Ruth

Abstract
Recognizing there is a relative absence of material regarding immigration in Evangelical scholarship that gives voice to the immigrant themselves, especially women, this study sought to contribute qualitative material that sheds light on the phenomenon of female migration because their experiences with immigration have not been fully understood. The Book of Ruth served as a biblico-historical lens to help analyze the participants’ experiences with immigration as believers in Christ, and to answer three main research questions: (1) Are immigrant Christian women aware of the connection their experience with immigration has with the book of Ruth? (2) What common experiences do these immigrant Christian women share? (3) How does their faith in God inform their experience with immigration? To collect data, in-depth interviews were conducted and recorded using a phenomenological approach with twelve self-identified evangelical Christian immigrant women. Data analysis revealed that only two participants are aware of the connection their experience with immigration has with the book of Ruth, albeit the connections these participants drew vary in focus and interpretation. Regarding common experiences, participants reported experiencing a sense of loss not only of culture, family, and identity, but also of their marriages and loved ones. In many instances, experiencing loss in their lives led them to develop a deeper understanding of God’s attributes such as His power, care, protection, and forgiveness. Data also revealed that when facing hardship, most participants were able to bounce back and become somewhat resilient. An unexpected finding, however, was that almost half of the participants mentioned experiences with abuse typically, but not always, perpetrated by male figures. Data also showed that participants’ experience with immigration seem to be informed by their respective theological traditions. Implications of this study are that there is a need for better pastoral care for immigrants to help both men and women to deal with their stories of trauma and abuse, and the Book of Ruth can be an instrument to help address these needs.

Train up a Parent in the Way they should Go: Parenting Preparation for Today’s Society

Abstract
This study sought to answer the research question: What factors help contribute to the pursuit of biblical parenting educational training in the lives of individuals before they become parents? The short answer? There are many factors that contribute, but our family background is one of the largest contributions. Just as Proverbs 22:6 is true: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it,” the opposite would be true as well: Do not train up a child, and they will depart from “it”. What is “it”? “It” equals habits of godliness, wisdom, truth, fear of the Lord, and sanctification that comes from the training received from godly parents which extends to the next generation. Our mission to train up a child would be in jeopardy of the mandate that Solomon sets forth, if we did not train up a parent in the way they should go.

Training is at the heart of this research project. Because there are many individuals who are about to be parents that do not pursue biblical parenting education training before they become parents, a conscious effort to strive to bridge our past with the present and create a bright future for our children, our family, and the generations that follow is integral to the success of parenting. If the concern for strong biblical parenting education is important, believers should be as adamant in pursuing this preparation as much as they are in beginning a biblical marriage with the right steps. Biblical marriages usually begin by the couple taking the time to pursue every avenue of preparation and advice that there is available. But that does not seem to be the case for the role of parenting. There appears to be a large deficit of understanding in the value of pursuing every avenue of preparation and advice available for this vital beginning of parenting. For some reason, the need is not there. It is quite puzzling and disheartening to know that this deficit exists when there is deep importance to this job.

The research examined uses a hermeneutical phenomenological approach in the form of personal and group interviews, conversations with student parents of my elementary and secondary classes, and a university essay question from my university students. It was the goal of this project to create a plan of action that can be implemented to begin the journey of parenting with our aim fully on the target moving from working through one’s family background, to the success and the health of our marriage, to the implementation of a strong family unit. Let us train up a parent in the way they should go.

The Origin and Development of Christianity on St. Helena Island, South Carolina amongst the Gullah People

Abstract
Many African Americans view Christianity as a foreign religion that was thrust upon enslaved Africans by their White slave masters. A presentation entitled, “God’s Black Children,” traced the spread of Christianity from the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, through Africa, through the Middle Passage, and to the Gullah people of St. Helena, SC. The first objective was to determine the extent of the knowledge of a sample of 144 Black Christians including bishops, pastors, deacons, and parishioners from South Carolina, Georgia, Africa, and the Caribbean. With the exception of bishops and pastors, a majority of the deacons and parishioners indicated that they did not know: (1) that the “Disciple Mark founded the first African church” and (2) that the “major doctrines of the Christian faith were hammered out in Africa.” A majority of all groups indicated that they did not know (3) that “Ethiopia became a Christian Nation in 328 AD, 50 years before Rome”; (4) that the “Kongo Kingdom was a Christian Nation for 128 years before slavery”; (5) that the “first 100 years of slavery on St. Helena, all Africans were Kongolese”; and that “Christianity was practiced by enslaved Africans on St. Helena for 250 years.” A large majority of all groups agreed: (1) that this information should be taught in churches and seminaries or shared with others; (2) they will preach or teach the material in the future; and (3) that they would be interested in learning more from the book, God’s Black Children.
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