Covenant Theological Seminary

Denominational programs for multicultural church planting : blessings or hindrances?

Author
Guillermo R MacKenzie
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how church planters in multicultural settings perceive the role of their denomination in enhancing their church-planting venture. The qualitative research was performed through interviews with six pastors who faced multicultural challenges while serving under the authority of a denomination. The researcher concluded that denominations wishing to serve multicultural church planters should focus on maintaining a healthy dialogue with congregations and church planters, developing flexible organizational structures, developing culturally open-minded leadership, providing specific training on multiculturality, and creating an intentional support program for church planters.

Cultivating a Christocentric worldview among the congregation through preaching

Author
Stephen Leonard
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how pastors use preaching to cultivate christocentric worldview commitments among their congregants. The study employed a qualitative research design and a semi-structured interview protocol, utilizing interviews with six pastors. The researcher found that a christocentric worldview was comprised of the unified story of God's redemption of his creation, motivation and empowerment by Christ in the Christian life, transformation at the heart level, and participation in God's restoration of man's relationship with God, others, and the creation. In addition, preaching as a communication method is questioned pragmatically, but trusted in a spiritual sense. Also, primary hindrances include challenges of alternative worldview stories, fragmentary hearing, and disconnected preachers. Finally, helpful practices include preaching the redemptive-historical biblical narrative, exegeting the congregation, and a commitment by preachers to their own ongoing relationship with Jesus.

Understanding the challenges facing urban congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland who are seeking to develop effective mission in their local community

Author
John Coulter
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to understand the challenges facing urban congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland who are seeking to develop effective mission in their local community. This study utilized a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with nine ministers from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. The review of literature and analysis of the nine interviews identified three key areas which have a significant impact on a congregation's mission in their local community: the nature of the mission of the church, the leadership of the mission of the church and the practice of the mission of the church. This study concluded that these congregations should develop a fully orbed, biblical understanding of the nature of the mission of the church expressed in words and deeds. They should also develop the kind of visionary leadership which enables the congregation to face up to the reality of its changing context and make the necessary changes wh ich will enable it to fulfill its God given mandate for mission. Finally they should benefit from the experience of others and avoid those practices which hinder effective mission.

Overcoming cultural and systemic barriers: exploring how minority pastors overcome leadership challenges in majority culture congregations

Author
Edward S Koh
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to understand how minority pastors overcome leadership challenges in majority culture congregations. Exploring this requires an understanding of personal struggles minority pastors encounter due to cultural differences, systemic barriers they encounter because of the pervasive influences of racialization in the American church, and the crucial role of the Caucasian leadership and congregants that impact the ministry of minority pastors in majority culture congregations. This study utilized a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with six minority pastors in the Presbyterian Church in America. The review of literature and analysis of the six interviews focused on three key areas that provided insights to how minority pastors overcome leadership challenges. The three areas of focus were: minority leadership challenges, organizational culture, and multicultural leadership competencies. This study found that the complexity of racialized patterns in the American church must be addressed in order to effectively overcome personal and systemic leadership challenges and thrive in majority culture congregations. In addition when minority pastors encounter sustained leadership challenges, they can overcome by the means of grace God provides to fulfill his plan.

Orchestrating change

Author
Mark A Hutton
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how long-term pastors have orchestrated conflict in order to lead significant change. The study utilized a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with eight pastors who have served at least ten years in fulltime ministry. The unit of analysis was the critical incident method, and the resultant data was analyzed using the constant comparative method. The findings of this study confirmed that a gap exists between pastors' expectations, training, and practice of pastoral leadership. This suggests that pastors' expectations and training do not align with their experiences, which often creates serious personal and professional issues.

Self-care in ministers in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland: a critical incident study

Author
David Allen
Abstract
Ministers in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) are facing increased levels of stress with a significant number taking an absence from work due to stress-related illnesses. The assumption of this study was that such an absence from work would act as a critical incident in the lives of ministers; as a result, ministers who had endured such a period of sick-leave would have considered their practice of self-care at a deep level and improved their self-care practices; such consideration and practice would be instructive to other ministers in the PCI and elsewhere. This study utilized a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with six pastors in the PCI. The review of literature and analysis of the six interviews focused on three key areas: stress in clergy; self-care in leaders; self-care in clergy. The study found that an absence from work due to a stress related illness is a critical incident in the lives of pastors, that it did cause them to practi ce self-care, and consequently is instructive to other pastors. The study concluded that in order for pastors to exercise ministries that are as refreshed and renewed as possible, they must increase their level of well-being and maintain this over time.

The dance between vulnerability and trust in pulpit leadership

Author
Clay Smith
Abstract
Church culture is significantly formed through communication, specifically communication in sermons. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore how pastors use vulnerability in sermons to build the congregation's trust in their leadership. This study utilized a qualitative design with semi-structured interviews with six Reformed pastors with the primary preaching responsibility in their churches in the southeastern United States. Analysis of the literature and interview data examined how pastors assess the use of vulnerability in their sermons, how pastors perceive the relationship between preaching and trust, and how pastors determine the limits of vulnerability in their sermons to build trust in leadership. Findings from the study include the critical nature of a gospel-saturated culture for the vulnerability to build trust, the value of understanding the negotiation of interests through preaching to build trust, the necessary match of the public and priv ate communication from the senior leadership, and the clearly communicated intent of redemptive purpose of vulnerability to build trust.

Engaging the lost in highly secular suburban settings

Author
Steven M Reese
Abstract
Even though city centers and urban cores are attractive to church planters, the church must not overlook the pressing need in highly secular suburban settings. To that end, the purpose of this study was to discover the process by which recent converts became Christians and connected to local churches in thoroughly secular suburban settings. Following a qualitative research method, along with the constant comparative method, eight recent converts were interviewed. The researcher looked at the hurdles encountered by participants in their conversion process and how the hurdles were navigated through relationships, resulting in commitment to specific local churches.

Field sermons: a study in extemporaneous preaching effected without the regular tools of preparation and delivery

Author
Robert N Burns
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how military chaplains preach sermons to personnel within the field environment, with a particular focus on overcoming the challenges faced without the regular tools of preparation and delivery. A literature review was conducted that centered on the methods of preparation and delivery of sermons that would be beneficial to chaplains in the field. The study followed a qualitative research method, utilizing semi-structured interviews with six chaplains, analyzed in a constant comparative method. The research found that chaplains delivered their sermons extemporaneously, often without notes, and utilized oral methods of preparation grounded upon their own personal devotions and prayer. This study concludes that chaplains need to avail themselves of the techniques and practices of extemporaneous preaching without notes, to include an oral method of preparation in order to preach effectively in the field.

How business leaders partner with other Christians for inter-cultural, inter-denominational, and transformational development in urban missions

Author
Julian C Russell
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to understand the challenges encountered by Christian business leader from suburban churches who are committed to inter-cultural, inter-denominational, transformational urban missions. This study utilized a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with eight business leaders from suburban Presbyterian churches. The findings of the study were that these business leaders are to pay careful attention to several important principles of inter-cultural leadership in collaborating for transformational development. The first conclusion regarding leadership roles was that suburban business leaders play very significant and changing roles in both inter-cultural and homogenous partnerships. The second conclusion regarding cultural intelligence was that business leaders realize the need to develop a deeper understanding of their partners from diverse cultures. The third conclusion regarding the politics of power was that business leaders have to negotiate with others from both the urban communities, as well as the centralized powers within their own suburban congregations. The fourth conclusion regarding mutual transformation was that business leaders realized that true change in the urban communities is directly correlated to true change within their own suburban communities.
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