Minnesota Consortium of Theological Schools

Massage as a tool of ministry within the context of the church

Author
Bradley J Enerson
Abstract
Massage is a way to create a sense of wholeness between body and soul and can lead to a spiritual experience. Thirty-eight out of 125 massage therapists returned a questionnaire which concerned their practice of massage, the use of prayer, and their spirituality. A workshop on massage, body theology, and anatomy was conducted within a Lutheran church. Theological issues concerning the interpretation of the flesh need to be dealt with in order to feel comfortable having a hands-on experience. Massaging the elderly, people with AIDS, and those in hospice programs is a viable ministry of the church.

Youth peer ministry: the peer/heirarchic ministry continuum

Author
Richard P Schwalter
Abstract
Youth peer ministry is discussed conceptually, biblically, developmentally, and studied as implemented in various models of ministry or counseling. Conceptually, peer ministry is placed on a continuum with hierarchic ministry. Biblically the gospel of Luke is studied as a possible emphasis for peer ministry. Adolescent development is seen as conducive to the use of peer ministry. The study shows that youth peer ministry is an important but neglected tool for the church.

Intentional interim ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Author
Paul N Svingen
Abstract
The health of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is related to how it cares for its congregations. The health of an ELCA congregation is related to how it cares for itself during the interim time between a change of pastors. During change congregations, interim pastors, and the larger church can heal, develop, and grow. The study examines leadership roles of ELCA interim pastors from 7 regions and addresses five developmental tasks of a congregation in search of a pastor. The study looks at theological, historical, ecclesiastical, and pastoral dimensions of a new approach to interim pastoral ministry in the ELCA. The study concludes that intentional interim ministry can contribute to the overall well-being of the larger church.

A metaphor of grace: adventure-based group therapy with collegiate adult children of alcoholics

Author
Greg Carlson-Bancroft
Abstract
A high ropes course was used in this project as an integral part of group therapy with adult children of alcoholics on a mid-western college campus. A control group met for an equal amount of time without the adventure-based component. The elements of risk, fear, trust, communication, and danger were experienced in a non-shaming, supportive environment and served to reframe the students' childhood trauma of life in an alcoholic family. Family systems theory and St Paul's "body" analogy were illustrated in this study. God's grace was evident for students as they experienced communion with each other.

Telling the story: a dialectic of hope for the suffering, the dying, and the living

Author
Gregory R Tolaas
Abstract
This thesis project centers around the reality of hope in the midst of human suffering. The author contends that "telling the story" is a powerful way to foster hope in people who are in the midst of suffering and/or even the process of dying. The structure of the thesis employs the method of story, expressed in segments of a manuscript which the author wrote regarding the life and dying process of his sister. The author found that telling the story is healing for both those who are willing to share the story and those who are willing to receive it. The author presents what he calls a theology of immersion, which invites people to enter into the stories and the sufferings of those who, in the end, become our healers and teachers.

Growing together: making good marriages better

Author
Jay Trygstad
Abstract
A research design using a pretest and posttest was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of an 8-week integrative marriage enrichment class. Results of the study showed significant improvement on some marital satisfaction instruments, while showing no significant improvement on others. Groups led by lay facilitators were just as likely to show increase in marital satisfaction as were groups led by the researcher and his wife. The project includes an overview of the field of marriage enrichment and a large section on the theology of Christian marriage.

The melody of life: a theological interpretation on women's experience integrated with pastoral ministry

Author
Mary Seidel
Abstract
Women can and need to redefine from their own experience what it means to be female Christians. Understanding women's interpretation of life experience can offer insight into ministering to women and help define an additional model of ministry and theology. The study offers a theological reflection on women's experience integrated with pastoral ministry. Surveys were mailed to a control group of 95 women; personal interviews with other women reflected on the responses. Theological interpretation on the responses is provided by parish staff, a college theologian, and the writer. A practical theology results offering assistance to parish ministers for implementation.

Supervision of interns

Author
Wendell R Debner
Abstract
This project is a study of intern supervision in the context of a full-year penultimate internship program at a Lutheran seminary. The reflective method of Whitehead and Whitehead in their book, "Method in Ministry," provides the format and structure for the work. In the chapter dealing with tradition, the author portrays the history and development of internship among North American Lutheran theological educators. Under culture, the theory of cognitive dissonance and a systemic method of pastoral care are related to internship supervision. Under experience, the author probes his own history of field education supervision. The study results in several suggestions for field education programs and identifies significant trends in seminary field education programs.

Faith development on the 1990's: a study on the relationship between liturgy and Christian education

Author
H Robert Case
Abstract
This project was designed to show the need for a more intentional integration of liturgy and Christian education in the First Congregational United Church of Christ of Alpena, Michigan. The specific goal of the project was the creation of guidelines relating to the faith development of children from birth to confirmation. A shared praxis model was developed, using the work of Thomas Groome, allowing the local church board of deacons and Christian education to explore their own faith development in dialogue with recent writings in sacramental theology and faith development theory. A basic assumption explored in the project is the ability of a lay group to do significant theological reflection. The project affirms that in a local congregation theological reflection by the laity is essential in faith development and in keeping the hope and vision of the sacraments alive. Pivotal to this is the rediscovery of the relationship between liturgy and Christian education.

Ministry in God's image: a trinitarian model of collaboration for the parish

Author
Michael L Papesh
Abstract
The hypothesis is that collaboration in ministry is not merely a good way of ministering, but rather a theological necessity arising out of the very nature of God and the church. The thesis begins by providing background, explanation, and evaluation of a model of collaboration used by a parish worship board. The thesis then reviews the theology of God, church, and ministry of Joseph Ratzinger and Avery Dulles, evaluating both through reference to the pastoral experience. The thesis then explicates the author's theology of God, church, and ministry arising out of the pastoral experence and the theology of both Dulles and Ratzinger. The final chapter offers some reflections on the whole.
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