Covenant Theological Seminary

"We are all patrons": how artists receive patronage in support of their work for the common good

Author
Erik Bonkovsky
Abstract
Many artists feel alone and under-supported to the detriment of both themselves and their communities. The purpose of this study was to explore how artists receive support for their work through patronage. This study focused on three areas of Christian theological heritage: common grace, imago Dei, and patronage. The study followed a qualitative research design relying on semi­ structured interviews of artists working for the common good. The study identified three potential areas of support: material support, relational support, and intellectual support. By recognizing and leveraging its resources, the church could provide patronage in support of artists working for the common good.

When prophets speak to kings: Air Force chaplains and the praxis of leadership advisement

Author
Glen E. Harris Jr.
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to understand how Air Force chaplains advise superior military leaders on religious and ethical matters. Specifically, the qualitative research addressed what informs Air Force chaplains’ understanding of leadership, what Air Force chaplains do as they advise military leaders, what challenges are faced by Air Force chaplains in advising leaders, and how Air Force chaplains evaluate their own effectiveness in advising military leaders.
The findings were, first, that Air Force chaplains develop their understanding of leadership advisement primarily through experience. Some rely on the theological concepts of pastoral identity to buttress their experience, but years of trial and error in the core capability is the dominant path. Furthermore, chaplains rely on a nexus of communication and collaboration with the senior leaders they advise. And they adopt an approach inclusive of both data and relationship, with the latter being paramount. They also see spiritual care and leadership advisement as being two closely interrelated acts of pastoral ministry. Next, the challenges that Air Force chaplains face in advisement involve primarily power differentials and information fidelity. Finally, chaplains evaluate their effectiveness in leadership advisement in terms of building healthy organizational climates and building trust with senior leaders, even while struggling with questions of ineffectiveness and self-doubt.
The study provided three primary conclusions. First, chaplains would benefit from scenario-based coursework early in their careers to jettison the trend of experience-only development in advising leaders. Second, integrating emotional intelligence into the corporate ethos of the Air Force Chaplain Corps synergizes future success in leadership advisement by giving chaplains the boldness and courage to wield a pastoral and yet prophetic voice. Third, for a chaplain to lead a senior leader with advisement that is both on target and on time, they must first be skilled followers or “second chair leaders”.

Navigating organizational and leadership challenges as an assistant pastor, serving in an interim pastoral role

Author
Joel David Hathaway
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how assistant pastors navigate challenges of adaptive leadership when the church loses its senior pastor, and the assistant pastor is expected to lead through the transition. A qualitative research methodology was employed to explore the scope of this topic. This study found that the exiting senior pastor, existing assistant/interim pastor, incoming senior pastor, and congregation all play active roles in guaranteeing success during pastoral transitions. This sh1dy also identified steps churches and pastors can take to retire outdated leadership models while integrating collaborative leadership methods that prepare congregations for periods of transition.

Between mental illness and faith: the commission of pastoral care

Author
Lawrence Morganfield III
Abstract
This dissertation was researched to discover how churches are meeting the needs of the mentally ill parishioners. It is not yet known how deeply mental illness has affected the church, but its influences are being felt to the point where the church cannot sit by idly and ignore these needs or hope that they will go away. Unfortunately, many church leaders have not incorporated support for the mentally ill in their pastoral care repertoire yet. The goal of this study is to explore aspects of how the church is responding to this need and how it ministers to mentally ill parishioners and then provide recommendations for spiritual care and growth for this growing segment of the church.

Proclaiming the gospel from Old Testament war narratives

Author
Eli H. Dowell
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine how preachers proclaim the Gospel from Old Testament war narratives. The study utilized a basic qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with six Gospel-centered preachers. Four research questions guided the data analysis, addressing challenges presented by culture and theology and what methods preachers use to overcome these challenges. The findings of the study show that Old Testament war narratives are essential components of the meta-narrative of Scripture, culminating in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The study concluded with several examples of Gospel-centered interpretations of select passages from the book of Joshua.

A literary and historical analysis of Ephesians 5:18-6:9

Author
Shana Cress
Abstract
Within Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, there is a set of instructions termed the Haustafeln, or “household codes.” Paul turns his focus upon roles within the home. The question that inevitably arises from a text nearing 2,000 years of age is one of relevance. Do these instructions apply to those of a different time and culture? Several matters need to be examined. Previous research has linked this passage to Aristotle, to Roman culture, and to Stoic philosophy. Since the form of the Ephesians household codes is said to resemble Aristotle’s works, a reading of Aristotle’s code is necessary. Roman household characteristics that need to be explored include the pater familias, the goal of harmony, and the Roman conceptuality of adultery. Stoic philosophy will be examined through the writings of Epictetus. By closely examining his discourses, we can look for similarities or dissimilarities to Ephesians. If Paul’s goal was for Christians to blend in to the surrounding culture, then this will be evident as these subjects are investigated. In addition to this historical work, a literary analysis of Ephesians 5:18-6:9 will be performed. This thesis will argue that this passage on the household, Ephesians 5:18-6:9, is best understood against a Christian and not pagan philosophical background, situated within the epistle as a natural progression of Paul’s thought that is consistent with other Scriptural teaching.

All things in good order: how senior pastors experience the Carver Policy Governance System in their congregations

Author
Timothy J. Brand
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how Senior Pastors experience the implementation of the Carver Policy Governance Model in their congregations. Every Christian congregation has a system of governance, an agreed upon method to administer and manage the day to day operations, and exercise the ministry in good order. Many congregations and pastors face great challenges and unrest because of church governance issues. This issue is critical for pastoral health and longevity, as well as, congregational vitality and viability.
This study utilized a qualitative design using semi-structure interview with seven pastors from various denominations who served their congregations as senior pastors for ten years or longer. The literature review and analysis of the seven interviews focused on three key areas: the implementation of the Carver Policy Governance Model into the Congregation, the unique advantages of the Carver Policy Model, and the unique challenges of the Carver Policy Model.
This study concluded that there are eight components necessary to implement a policy based Board of Directors as the governing body of a congregation: outside resourcing, biblically based content, special pastoral character, full implementation of the Carver Model with the addition of an elder’s board (or its equivalent), clear separation of the administration and spiritual components, a high level of relational trust, a continual use of evaluation, and the implementation of teams.

Spiritual abuse in church leadership: finding a way through

Author
Stacey Davis-Agee
Abstract
Literature addresses how spiritual abuse manifests itself in the church, the impact on those wounded by the abuse, and how to find healing. This study was designed to explore how associate pastors experience restoration from spiritual abuse by a lead pastor. The study utilized a qualitative research method, semi-structured interviews with six pastors, and the constant comparative method to analyze the data. The research examined associate pastors' experiences of contentious relationships created by their lead pastors and their journey towards resolution. The study concluded that healing and recovery are possible with the support of safe individuals and when they learn language to identify and acknowledge their experiences.

Pastoral shame lifting

Author
Travis J. Marshall
Abstract
Shame contaminates the health and wholeness of all systems and relationships the shamed participates in. Knowing that a pastor will inevitably experience shame, what practices must come into regular church life process for shame resilience to become the norm? Hidden shame experiences and even more shame triggers lurk in pastoral offices everywhere, and so how can pastors become aware of their shame and experience the process of healing? These questions and more will be explored through the areas of vulnerability, empathy and the sacrament of the Eucharist so that pastors may experience shame-lifting and the process of healing from shame, both personally and in their church communities.

Identity formation in diverse churches

Author
Irwyn L. Ince Jr.
Abstract
The Bible indicates that God intends for his church to represent humanity’s diversity. This representation is not expected simply in a global sense, but also as the church gathers in local diverse communities. This diversity benefits the church. Yet, American churches are overwhelmingly mono-ethnic. Since the church is so influential in forming its members’ identities, is the lack of diversity within most American churches detrimental to full identity formation in Christ? What are the benefits to identity formation when the church is healthy in diversity? The purpose of this study was to explore how people who experience belonging in a diverse church assess the impact the church has on their identity formation.
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