Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis, Mo)

Engaging ecclesia: a model for training circuits to engage in misison as ecclesia

Author
Jeffrey E Shearier
Abstract
This major applied project sought to qualitatively measure the changes in attitudes and understandings about what the church (ecclesia) is theologically and missiologically as a result of a training designed to apply these attitudes and understandings tot he ecclesiology of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. He argues that all layers of church structure with the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod should be understood as expressions of ecclesia and so are in mission. The project is developed around training for a new method of church planting, the Gospel Gap Paradigm.

Entering the parish intentionally: a guide for new pastors.

Author
Jeffery Moore
Abstract
This project sought to research the resources available to new pastors fresh from the seminary that would help them with the everyday how-to questions they face and to write a new resource if those existing were found wanting. The key concept was a good beginning - how a new pastor might make an intentionally good beginning. In order to define a good beginning the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions were examined, and LCMS district presidents were interviewed. They gave their definitions and suggested names of pastors who had started well. Those pastors were then interviewed to add their insights. The existing resources were also examined. All of these insights were combined with the author's own experiences to produce a new resource for new pastors.

Autonomy or multi-site? A policy-capturing study of two models of church planting for the guidance of future site planting at Ascension Lutheran Church, Wichita, KS

Author
Michael R Bingenheimer
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to produce a set of reasoned recommendations to guide future site planting for Ascension Lutheran Church, Wichita, KS. A policy capturing study was conducted engaging thirteen congregations of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. Six congregations had planted independent congregations. Six congregations had planted multi-site venues. One congregation had used both models of church planting. The primary component for information gathering was a survey seeking information on how each church decided which model to follow. The author developed a set of general recommendations for the church-at-large and specific recommendations to guide Ascension Lutheran Church.

Ministry to inactives in a large congregation in a rural/small town setting

Author
Robert L Hagan
Abstract
Worship attendance figures are on the decline among congregations in the U.S. One of the challenges facing many congregations is the large percentage of members who have been absent from worship for a significant period of time. The project is a study of congregational approaches and strategies for ministry to inactives. The research portion of the project included a survey of large rural congregations regarding their approach to inactive members. A follow-up interview was conducted with pastors of selected congregations that participated in the survey. This research, along with the literature review, informed the recommendations for a comprehensive approach for Christian caregiving of inactives in a large, rural congregation. The project challenges many of the traditional attitudes and approaches that pastors and congregation leaders have undertaken in ministry to inactives.

When vocations collide: a study of the process of developing a military mobilization agreement

Author
Mark C Moreno
Abstract
The ministry of reserve military chaplains has an impact on their civilian ministry setting, the church in particular. Questionnaires were administered and interviews conducted with reserve chaplains and congregations that have already experienced a mobilization and had a mobilization agreement. Findings reveal that the process of developing a mobilization agreement is indicative of the healthy relationship between the reserve chaplain and their congregation.

Leaders in crises and God's mission to them

Author
Stace D Rollefson
Abstract
Church meetings are powerful places of opportunity and danger. This project helps leaders to serve the Lord in faith and good courage while helping them avoid the spiritual dangers of serving self and the powers of darkness in meetings. The focus of this effort is on the moments following alarm or the awareness of stress that is being generated by one's heart. The researcher trained the five men and nine women of the Parish Planning Council on three theological foci: a theology of thinking in crisis, a theology of worship in service, and a theology of leadership in suffering. Each of these monthly sessions was reinforced by a weekly Bible study and a monthly opportunity for a one-on-one meeting where applications of the Alarm Model were made to current issues. The goal of this project is to give leaders theological tools to help them manage crisis in meetings and even prevent some of it by the grace of God.

The use of eternal life metaphors in the funeral sermon as a means of grace

Author
Daniel A Wonderly
Abstract
The purpose of this major applied project was to learn which eternal life metaphors were more comforting to the members of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, in Burton, Michigan. The researcher approached this research project believing that certain metaphors would be more comforting to his members than others. Therefore, the researcher sought to discover which eternal life metaphors were more comforting through the use of a research survey. He then held research group interviews to learn why these metaphors were more comforting than others. As a result, the researcher is able to apply the insights gained concerning certain scriptural metaphors to be used in funeral sermons for the benefit of his congregation.

Workshop in narrative preaching: an added approach for the pulpits of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil

Author
Ely Prieto
Abstract
The author researched a new style of preaching from the field of homiletics to the ministry of pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brazil. He conducted a workshop on narrative preaching, with a group of pastors from southern Brazil, designed to evaluate the effectiveness of integrating the theory and practice of narrative preaching into the pastors' ministry. Questionnaires, written sermons, and written evaluations were reviewed upon completion of the workshop. The researcher concluded the workshop had indeed impacted the pastors' preaching style; they had grasped the new technique and readily integrated the narrative preaching into their ministry.

How a hearer listens to a sermon: setting the presuppositions of the "second text"

Author
Jeffery D Nehrt
Abstract
The purpose of the project was to answer the question: can preachers influence how a hearer listens to a sermon? To answer that question, 70 pastors of the Southern Illinois District, Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod were asked if they ever used a pre-sermon Bible study to help the hearer listen to the sermon. A seven-week pre-sermon Bible study was developed and taught based on four filters of hearing. Those filters were logos, ethos, pathos, and community. A post-sermon survey was given and separated into two categories, those who attended the pre-sermon Bible study and those who did not. The results were fairly conclusive that those who attended the pre-sermon Bible study had a greater connection to both the sermon and the preacher. Summaries, conclusions and recommendations are included for pastors. congregations, and laity.

The relationship between the board of directors governance model and the practice of discipleship

Author
Matthew Bean
Abstract
This major applied project evaluates the relationship between the board of directors governance structure employed at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Richmond, Virginia, and the practice of discipleship among Redeemer's members. The project's hypothesis confront an uncertainty, namely that it is uncertain whether Redeemer's structure influences members to participate in the practice of discipleship. The project is accomplished first through bibliographic research into the biblical, theological, historical, and practical nature of this relationship, and then second through field research investigating this relationship at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Richmond, Virginia. The project concludes with an affirmative response, that Redeemer's structure does influence the practice of discipleship.
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