Covenant Theological Seminary

Take care how you help others listen : sermon listening in an age of distraction

Author
Sebastian Y Kim
Abstract
Preachers are expected to preach engaging sermons, whereas hearers are expected to be passive during preaching. One of the most pernicious challenges of listening to sermons is distraction due to smartphone addiction. The purpose of this study is to examine how adult congregants of a local church engage in sermons amid distractions. The study employed qualitative research methods with fourteen adult congregants using semi-structured interviews analyzed with the constant comparative method. The research explored neurological, psychological and spiritual issues induced by digital technology. This study concluded that the church should be intentional about making disciples by having meaningful conversations with congregants.

A qualitative study exploring how senior pastors can deliberately move the congregation toward systemic gospel health

Author
Edward W Dunnington
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how senior pastors can lead congregations toward systemic gospel health. The research focused on how pastors describe systemic health, what pastors believe to be hindrances to systemic health, and how pastors cultivate systemic health within their congregations. The literature reviewed included biblical and theological material relating to a congregation's systemic nature and the definition of congregational gospel health; change theory; systems theory; and the leader's role. The researcher interviewed two senior pastors of two different churches, their spouses, staff, and lay leaders. Both senior leaders articulated four factors that the literature supported: personal and marital growth; thinking systemically about the congregation; a working knowledge of change theory; and having at least one co-laborer in the work of change. This kind of systemic change is not simply technical in nature, but adaptive and cannot be done alone.

Vocation for mission : understanding how work is integral to God's mission to the world

Author
Richard M Vise
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how congregants in leadership roles understand their work as integral to God's mission in the world. A qualitative research study was designed in which the areas of literature on a Christian theology of vocation and employee engagement were reviewed. The researcher discovered that congregants described their lives and their work as integral to God's mission in the world. They also described the effect of their working environments on that belief and the fruitful work that emerged from that belief.

Biblical principle of church discipline and its application

Author
Kwang Ho Song
Abstract
Church discipline is a mark of the true church, and pastors are called to understand and implement church discipline as an inherent aspect of pastoral ministry. However, few pastors seem to regard its importance enough to put it into practice, in spite of its clear benefits. Yet, through corrective church discipline, church unity is guarded, and the congregants can grow in faith. Three research questions guided this study: (1) How do pastors understand the principle of church discipline given in Matthew 18:15-20? (2) How do pastors apply their understanding of the principle of church discipline given in Matthew 18:15-20 to their resolution of cases in need of disciplinary action? And, (3) How do pastors evaluate the effects of their application of church discipline upon their congregations? The study utilized a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with six pastors with long and diverse pastoral ministry experience. The data was analyzed using the constant comparative method. The study found that pastors' understanding of church discipline was thorough and deep, but many obstacles occurred in applying it. The study concluded that, despite people's dislike or rejection of church discipline, a deeper understanding and faithfully implementation of discipline will promote church unity and success in pastoral ministry.

Saints and poets in conversation : metanarrative in theater and in life

Author
Donald P Johnson
Abstract
This study explored how religiously unaffiliated persons ("nones") interpret the metanarrative of a film. Four questions guided the research: How do nones interpret Saving Mr. Banks? How do nones compare and contrast its metanarrative with their personal narratives? How are nones' lives affected by these narratives? In what ways do nones' experiences compare and contrast with biblical themes of creation, fall, redemption, and new creation? This study found that the film's themes gave moral coherence to the participants' lives; its narratives connected with participants' lives; and the participants' stories affirmed meaning in life, relational healing, and hopefulness toward the future.

Responsible freedom how pastors make application from redemptive historical Old Testament narrative sermons

Author
Steven J Van Noort
Abstract
Many pastors find application difficult, especially in redemptive historical Old Testament narrative sermons where there are a variety of practical and hermeneutical issues to consider. Therefore, this study was designed to explore how pastors make application in such sermons. The study used a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with four pastors from the Reformed/Presbyterian tradition who were very dedicated to preaching Christ and making good application. Making application from Old Testament narratives is more of an art than science. Despite the ambiguity, "responsible freedom" enables pastors to avoid moralistic sermons and giving sermons that do not have application.

Christ-centered preaching int he context of urban China to the post-1981 generation

Author
David J Park
Abstract
China is experiencing dramatic changes at every level of its identity. Rapid urbanization, unprecedented economic prosperity giving rise to a new middle-class, tied together with the adoption of the one-child policy in 1981 have created a new set of challenges to church leaders seeking to reach the new generation for Christ. The traditional house church, born in persecution from the government, with its emphasis on separation from the world and zealous personal piety, is no longer able to effectively reach the new generation with the gospel. Urban church leaders must now grapple with how to preach the unchanging message of Christ to this dramatically changing culture.

Intergeneraltional preaching accounting for the various dynamics of multigenerational churches

Author
Duane L Flowler
Abstract
There are differences in listening comprehension at differing developmental stages of life. The differences exist between young children under about age 7, children from around 7 to 11, teenagers who have the adult tools for mature listening comprehension, and more mature adult listeners. This paper examines how preachers in intergenerational worship services preach intentionally to all generations without sacrificing the essentials of expository Christ-centered preaching. It also includes segments on pitfalls to avoid and suggestions for obtaining and using feedback. The hope is to help preachers preach the Word of God to reach everyone from the infant to the nonagenarian.

Presenting everyone in Christ exploring how pastors intentionally help congregants towards spiritual maturity through their preaching ministries

Author
Mark Goudy
Abstract
Preaching in a worship service is often overlooked as a key disciple-making strategy. Using qualitative research methods, this study explored principles and practices of proficient pastors who help congregants towards spiritual maturity through preaching.The literature review and analysis of interviews failed to identify preaching strategies that ensured congregants' maturity. Themes noted as helpful for effectually motivating and empowering towards maturity included in-depth gospel proclamation; heart-focussed application; a gospel-centred hermeneutic; a balanced diet of expository material; learning from others; a desire to grow spiritually themselves; sensitive sharing of personal struggles and need of God's sustaining grace

Conducting marriage enrichment programs in the local church

Author
Janming Hou
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to investigate participant-perceived factors that would influence the learning experience in a marriage education program designed and led by their pastor in a Chinese ethnic local church in America.The study used the qualitative case study research technique. Twelve couples were assembled. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with them. The recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed using the constant comparative analysis method.Four themes emerged from the analysis: trustworthy pastor, ready participants, effective program, and complementary practices. The positive presence of these four themes create good learning experiences.
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