Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Everyone Eats: Preaching to Inspire Multigenerational Engagement in Worship Beyond Virtual and Traditional Contexts

Author
Curis Tyriece Bryant D.Min.
Abstract
The traditional black church has suffered in recent years from declining attendance. The biggest cause for the decline is linked to the massive exodus of younger generations from the traditional context. This phenomenon has inspired pastors, preachers, and thought leaders to engage in conversation of how to address the issue. That conversation has revealed generational engagement in preaching as one solution to stimulating congregational life within a traditional worship context. This thesis explores the use of a multigenerational preaching approach to inspire congregational engagement. This thesis will posit that preaching where sermons intentionally reach different generations in a similar context, will result in engagement for both older and younger generations. The principles of this strategy will also prove useful beyond the current virtual settings imposed by the Coronavirus.

Prophetic Preaching to Inspire Embodied Discipleship Beyond the Walls of the Building

Author
Jon Robinson D.Min.
Abstract
Over the past few decades, the focus of the black church in America has shifted from a communal pursuit of justice and liberation for marginalized people, toward a personal pursuit of piety and prosperity. This project, Prophetic Preaching to Inspire Embodied Discipleship Beyond the Walls of the Building, offers a theo-political discipleship model that seeks to reclaim and reimagine Jesus’ first century call to discipleship. Through prophetic preaching and a practical application of womanist ethics of personal and communal thriving, pastors and parishioners can embody a liberative, justice-oriented discipleship praxis that advances human flourishing beyond the walls of our buildings.

Knowing God through Spiritual Practices and Spiritual Direction

Author
Regina B. Proctor D.Min.
Abstract
Knowing God through Spiritual Practices and Spiritual Direction sought to determine if using traditional spiritual practices, including lectio divina, silence, Centering Prayer, journaling with word and image, along with spiritual direction sessions, would create theosis, a deeper union with God, and keep people from leaving church. This project used action and qualitative method research through pre- and post-project questionnaires, an observation during a one-day retreat, and select reflections from spiritual direction sessions. The data collected suggested a more in-depth explanation of theosis and ongoing experience with the spiritual practices was needed to help participants experience a deeper union with God.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Training in Spiritual Leadership Theory on Nurse Manager Spiritual Well-Being, Job Satisfaction, and Burnout

Author
Rebekah Wagner D.Min.
Abstract
With nursing burnout at an all-time high, this researcher evaluated a chaplain intervention to support nurse managers. Prior interventions for burnout have been focused on the staff nurse level. This is very important work, but without also addressing the needs of leaders, it is unlikely to be successful. Studies have shown that one of the predictors of nurse turnover is poor leadership. This project addressed the needs of the nurse managers, with the hypothesis that improved leadership will lead to improved burnout status of the staff nurses. Training was provided in Spiritual Leadership Theory which prioritizes the utilization of spiritual practices and concepts to empower and develop leaders. This training, daily spiritual practices, and participation in bi-monthly spiritual direction/companionship meetings over three months comprised the intervention. Burnout, job satisfaction and spiritual well-being were measured pre and post intervention. Because of the small participant size, no quantitative statistically significant results were able to be noted; although, continued study with additional participants is planned to gather further quantitative data. Qualitative results from the three-month pilot project included improvements in the ability to be reflective rather than reactive, to interact with team members holistically, and to foster spiritual refreshment and renewal.

Cultivating Healthy Marriages: The Juxtaposition of Preaching and Pastoral Care in a Retreat Setting

Author
Naomi Annetta Mitchell D.Min.
Abstract
This project focuses on the role of the delivery of pastoral care during the preaching moment as a means of cultivating, facilitating, and strengthening healthy marriages in the context of the Black church. The benefits of combining pastoral care, sermon preparation, and preaching in a retreat setting to several married couples are explored. Designed to help couples develop healthy relationship skills and competencies, the sermons provide biblical references, theological information, and practical tools of pastoral counselors. I show through contextual practice how couples learn skills and receive tools to assist them with cultivating a healthy marriage. I believe this type of pastoral care preaching is an essential homiletical practice to facilitate healthy marriages.

No Longer Servants, But Friends: Toward a Relational Approach to Spiritual Leadership Development

Author
Rebecca J. Girrell D.Min.
Abstract
No Longer Servants, but Friends: Toward a Relational Approach to Spiritual Leadership Development is a participatory action research project in which the pastor-researcher and the leadership development team (LDT) of a small United Methodist congregation worked collaboratively to shift the team’s mindset and methods from nominations to leadership development. Using a shared leadership model and tools of appreciative inquiry, the pastor-researcher encouraged the LDT to identify gaps in the church’s leadership system and brainstorm and implement possible solutions. The intervention took place during the 2019-2020 program year and was, therefore, affected by the unanticipated challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the pastor-researcher’s move to a different church. This allowed the pastor-researcher to observe the LDT’s shift in mindset and methods under the pressure of these circumstances.
The pastor-researcher observed the LDT’s process and outcomes and evaluated the members’ self-reported experiences via questionnaire, group interviews, and meeting transcripts. The key findings of the study illustrated that the LDT members experienced their process favorably, especially as evidenced by adopting the collaborative and systemic approaches they experienced in the intervention and applying these approaches to their work with other church leaders. Additionally, the study found that LDT members reported reduced anxiousness in their tasks, increased confidence in their effectiveness, and strong commitment to their shift in mindset, even in the face of the unanticipated crises. Most LDT members attributed these positive experiences to aspects of the intervention, including shared purpose, understanding of the church leadership system, collaborative leadership, and relationship with the pastor-researcher. The pastor-researcher identified opportunity for further study regarding long-term effects of such interventions and the impacts of interpersonal relationships, particularly with the pastor, on the experience and process of church leadership development.

Preaching as an Element of Transformation and Pastoral Accompaniment in a Multicultural Community in the Midst of a Pandemic

Author
Edwin Cotto-Pérez D.Min.
Abstract
LA PREDICACIÓN COMO ELEMENTO DE TRANSFORMACIÓN Y ACOMPAÑAMIENTO PASTORAL EN MEDIO DE UNA COMUNIDAD MULTICULTURAL EN TIEMPOS DE PANDEMIA

This thesis project has been developed with a qualitative method to respond to the homiletical problem of how preaching can be an essential element in the intentional effort to provide pastoral care that promotes transformation, encouragement, accompaniment, and spiritual care to congregations and community viewers of religious services through Tamiami United Methodist Church in Miami, Florida, USA. The thesis also proposes how the church can become available to care for the pain, grievance, difficulty, and anguish in times of a health emergency and economic contraction such as COVID-19.

Examining the Spiritual Growth in Korean Immigrant Christians at Holy Cross International United Methodist Church Through a Set of Spiritual Formation Retreats

Author
Yoon-Seok Choi D.Min.
Abstract
This project examines the spiritual growth of Korean immigrant Christians through a set of spiritual formation retreats. The key concept of the retreats is to cultivate well-balanced spiritual life for Korean Christians. With three retreat participants, the researcher is seeking a tangible foundation for accomplishing a deepened spiritual life. While the Korean churches strived to achieve quantitative growth in a short time, they relatively did not pay much attention to the spiritual realm in thousands of years of Christian history. Marjorie J. Thompson provides a well-balanced spiritual formation retreat tool with her book “Soul Feast.” This book is used for the main tool for the intervention. Soul Feast contains ten sessions of spiritual formation themes including the spiritual thirst followed by reading the Word, prayer, common worship, worth of Sabbath, self-emptying, brief information of spiritual direction, hospitality, and making rule of life. The researcher facilitates the retreats for the participants so that they can experience a broaden realm of spiritual practice tradition. With pre and post in-depth interviews, the research examines the differences of each individual participant’s spiritual life practices. By interpreting the results, the researcher tries to find the positive factors as well as limitations found in the intervention.

A study of critical care nurses' listening behavior through the application of the quality listening model

Author
D Clare Biedenharn D.Min.
Abstract
Listening is a quality indicator in patient-centered care. Working within the paradigm of the Quaker listening model, as described by activist and educator Parker J. Palmer and others, the intentional use of a spiritually based therapeutic listening model is an effective tool used by the Registered Nurse (RN) in working with patients and their families in making decisions in critical care settings. This project seeks to gauge the outcome of intentional use of this proven and effective model by the RN as both a tool for improving patient care as well as personal spiritual awareness measured through the Daily Religious Experience Scale.

Preaching in the Midst of Appointive Change in the United Methodist Church

Author
Scott Eugene Carnes D.Min.
Abstract
The special requirements of preaching during appointive change has long been overlooked with few resources available to provide much-needed assistance. The work required for effective preaching during appointive change has critical elements that are difficult to navigate without an existing pastoral relationship with the congregation and community. This thesis describes a process that incorporates specific and direct attention to elements of change and vulnerability. It offers methods and models for enabling effective preaching during appointive change through deep connection between the congregation and the preacher. This process offers a plan for healthy pastoral transition and contextualized preaching from a place of vulnerability.
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