Bethel Seminary (Saint Paul, Minn)

Biblical motivation for church and social transformation

Author
Herbert V Klem
Abstract
The researcher studied five evangelical church denominations in Cameroon to determine the extent to which they had established ministries to the very poor and vulnerable to asses whether these ministries had had a positive impact on the numeric growth of these denominations. It was hoped that the researcher's interactions with pastors, church leaders, and Christian social ministries in Cameroon would reveal the extent of practical ministries on behalf of the poor. Almost all the pastors and church leaders sampled knew these problems were extensive but they were not involved in programs or personal assistance for widows, orphans, or social outcasts who attend services with them on Sundays. The research showed a need to challenge the evangelical churches in Cameroon to develop intentional social ministries in order to give the vulnerable the change to hear the good news of salvation and to know that Christ loves them just as every other person.

After the plant: transitioning a church plant into a healthy mature congregation

Author
John R Braland
Abstract
The author attempted to determine if any characteristics could be identified that might help a church plant transition into a healthy, mature congregation. The mixed methods research approach was utilized, revealing realistic expectations, a stewardship plan, leadership development plan, and planter peer group all assisted a church transition. Successful churches evangelized adults aged 19-30 and had at least 100 people in attendance by year three. They recognized developed organizational systems and implemented a stewardship development plan that created a culture of giving that became apparent by year three. The church planting model made no statistical difference on survivability.

Godly consensus: a decision-making process in the local church

Author
Timothy C Bhajjan
Abstract
The problem this project addressed was how Christians, in a local church, discovered God's leading for the future direction of the church through consensus-based decision-making. In-depth interviews were conducted with 25 members of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) located in Crookston, Minnesota. The two topics of hearing the voice of God in community and consensus-based decision-making were explored. An action plan for the future ministry of the church was developed. Godly consensus is a real, viable and effective means by which one local church was able to recognize what God was saying to them.

Anglicanism: the answer to postmodernity

Author
Robert H Fickley
Abstract
This project addressed the problem of how Anglicanism could best present itself to appeal to the current 20-somethings while preserving the unique characteristics of its ancient, liturgical worship and prayer services. The researcher employed a case study and grounded theory approach to examine the current "postmodern" culture which has shaped the outlook and opinions of today's 20-somethings, particularly their attitudes toward spiritual matters and Christianity. Historic Anglicanism seems to be uniquely poised to respond to the heart cry of those who have found the postmodern culture empty of meaning and emotionally dissatisfying, and the popular Christian practices superficial.

Obstacles that American suburban middle-class culture creates for the follower of Jesus Christ: how the growing influence of sports provides clues for compelling models of discipleship

Author
Stephen M Gahagen
Abstract
In this thesis the researcher discovered how American suburban middle-class culture and American evangelical culture might impede someone from following Jesus. In order to understand these obstacles the researcher did a theological review of the values of Jesus' Kingdom and a literature review of the values of suburban middle-class culture. Of particular interest to the researcher is the significant amount of time and money that people invest in sports. Through field tests, the researcher attempted to discover what would happen if a team of students committed themselves to train as followers of Christ with the same intensity that a student would do so for a sports team.

The challenge of longevity associated with after-care workers of victims of sexual exploitation

Author
Pamela Lew MacRae
Abstract
This study was to investigate the challenge of tenure longevity associated with after-care workers for sexually exploited victims. The goal was to find factors that contribute to the after-care worker's tenure. Four case studies focused on questions related to burnout, secondary trauma, support and training. Significant findings revealed issues in categories of motivation, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, vicarious victimization, compassion fatigue, self-care, support and training. After-care workers universally reported significant burnout and secondary trauma. Training, support and healthy self-care measures were found to be a contributing factor of longevity. The findings revealed that after-care workers would benefit from increased educational preparation, organizational support and healthy self-care measures.

Closing the gap: best practices of selected Nazarene churches using Gallup faith strengths training to increase member engagement in serving

Author
Daryl E Johnson
Abstract
This research project explored the use of Gallup faith-based strengths training utilized by three case study Nazarene churches to increase member engagement in serving. Each church implemented strengths training after participating in a Gallup Member Engagement Survey (ME25). Mixed methods grounded theory research was used to compare the statistical data from each survey result to the qualitative data obtained from interviews of church members. The results showed strong catalytic leadership, leadership team ownership, consultant mentoring, strategic planning, and follow up training as common factors in the success of increased member engagement in serving.

Bethel University and the churches of Converge Worldwide: reversing the trend of declining financial support

Author
Ralph W Gustafson
Abstract
The researcher sought to identify the primary causes for the sharp decline in financial support from the churches of Converge Worldwide for the educational ministry of Bethel University between 1980 and 2010. The methodology was qualitative research with a case study approach utilizing four primary forms of data: interviews, surveys, primary sources, and field observations. The prime conclusions indicated that reversing the decline would require that Bethel take specific and decisive action, maintain theological integrity, strengthen its connections to and communications with its churches, and demonstrate genuine support for the mission and ministry of the church.

Spiritual strengths: a revised approach for equipping Christians for effective service

Author
Kevin D Hazelton
Abstract
The researcher argued that the conventional view of spiritual gifts--that all charismata are special abilities endowed by the Holy Spirit--fails to recognize the context of Scripture. A spiritual-ministries view identifying charismata as ministry roles was developed. The researcher concluded that spiritual gifts are roles Christians are called to fill; natural talents (identified through StrengthsFinder personality assessment) are critical factors in filling those roles. Spiritual strengths occur as natural talents are applied to spiritual gifts. A grounded theory study indicated that individuals who recognize this complementary relationship between spiritual gifts and talents experience positive attitude change toward serving God.
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