Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Midwife for the Missio Dei: A Peer Learning Model for Developing Clergy Leadership and Missional Congregations

Author
Beth Sanders
Abstract
The "Midwife for the Missio Dei" project evaluates a spiritual midwife model of clergy leadership for advancing the church's mission. The project uses semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, and participatory group observation to collect data on change in clergy participants' leadership of missional growth before and after implementation of skills derived from the practice of midwifery. The data collected measures change in discernment ability and effectiveness in advancing mission. The research shows that spiritual midwife leadership can effect a positive change in clergy leadership ability in furtherance of the mission of the church.

As the Spirit leads: a study on United Methodist laity and how they decide where to serve in the local church

Author
Jeffrey A McDowell
Abstract
Christians seek God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We believe God has equipped us to do work to this end, through local churches. What is often lacking is awareness of the divine call to specific areas of service. I used individual interviews, asking people about their experience in service and any sense of divine guidance, and followed each interview with an online assessment of spiritual gifts. There clearly is a correlation between service, divine guidance, and spiritual gifts. This project results in a simple, useable model for discernment of effective lay service to God.

Dream work: implications for spiritual directors and the Audire spiritual formation program

Author
Mark D Rath
Abstract
Dream researcher Kelly Bulkeley (2009) reports a growing number of spiritual directors and pastoral counselors find dreams to be a valuable resource in their work. This is encouraging for further study with spiritual directors and their perception of dreams. This study explores the incubated dreams of current students and graduates of Audire: The Central Florida Foundation for Spiritual Direction. Participants incubated a dream about their work as spiritual directors and were interviewed using the Gayle Delaney method to assist in dream interpretation. Perception of dreams will be measured using the Manifestation of God and Perceived Sacred Qualities scales.

The Influence of a Positive Environment on Recognizing the Missio Dei through Appreciative Inquiry: The Journey of an Urban Church Leadership Team to Missional Discovery Through the Process of Appreciative Inquiry

Author
Brian E Cook
Abstract
The author researched, developed, and implemented a study on missional renewal within the organizational development model of appreciative inquiry. By exploring the missio Dei through positive conversations and spiritual formation practiced within the appreciative inquiry model, lay leaders can come to recognize existing congregational ministries as missional practices forming these lay leaders as cultural change catalysts within the congregation. The author worked with 25 lay leaders in a participatory action research study. In this project, lay leaders were able to gain clear insight into the missio Dei through an environment of positive conversation.

Overcoming the Storm Using Photovoice in Spiritual Retreats for African American Women Healing from Sexual Violence

Author
Argrow K Evans-Ford
Abstract
"Overcoming the Storm: Using Photovoice in Spiritual Retreats for African American Women Healing from Sexual Violence" was a study to determine if using the systematic visual research method, photovoice, assists the survivors with healing within a spiritual retreat setting. Six self-identified survivors participated in a three-week Overcoming the Storm (OtS) support group focused on healing from sexual violence. Healing was defined as overcoming an undesirable condition and restoring wholeness. Healing was also related to the participants' relationships with the God of love and was directly connected to their use and interpretation of the Christian Bible. One year after the OtS support group sessions, I, as the researcher/retreat leader, gave cameras to the six participants and instructed them to take photographs on the theme of "sexual violence and healing in your life" in preparation for participation in a spiritual retreat. Through the photovoice process, women captured images of dozens of healing aides in their lives, and seven common themes arose: children/grandchildren, Scripture, prayer, plants, the OtS support group, journaling, and nature. Children/grandchildren and Scripture were seen as the two most important healing elements for all six of the women. Prayer, plants, and the OtS support group came in second for all except one participant. Journaling and nature came in third place for two participants. In tandem with the photovoice exercise, I guided the survivors through a series of questions aimed at assisting them further in their healing journeys. Pre-retreat questionaires, post-retreat questionnaires, and retreat transcripts provided data for determining the effectiveness of using the photovoice method. The data supported my conclusion that photovoice was effective in the healing process for African American female survivors of sexual violence.

Talking the walk: how spiritual practices influence youth's ability to articulate their faith

Author
Jack L Mannschreck
Abstract
Talking the Walk is a participatory action research project that describes the introduction of spiritual practices to high school and junior high students with the intent of equipping them with a vocabulary that will increase their ability to articulate their faith. Through the 4-D (discovery, dream, design and destiny) process of appreciative inquiry the youth took part in a process of exploring their beliefs, their community of faith, their call to ministry and sense of hope. These four assents to faith, identified in the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR), serve as indicators of spiritual growth and maturation.

Preaching as Pastoral Care Utilizing the Tenets of Pastoral Care and Counseling to Influence Sermon Development

Author
James R Johnson
Abstract
This thesis project focuses on preaching as pastoral care and the process of integration. In the Black church context, it is taboo for one to seek counseling outside of the realm of the church. People who face issues such as mental illness and poverty are often stigmatized and labeled. The perpetuation of such stigmas is often introduced and reinforced through the preaching of the gospel. It is the effort of the writer to show through contextual practice how the integration of preaching and pastoral care challenges the church to rethink preaching as a means of healing care.

Living Our Strengths for Ministry

Author
Brian C Smith
Abstract
In response to the vocation of all Christians to share in Christ's ministry, the "Living Our Strengths for Ministry" project utilizes a workshop with participant action research methods to help participants identify and integrate their gifts for ministry. The workshop incorporates collaborative learning through a mini-lecture, individual reflection, small group discussion, role play, and focus group discussion. Participants explore their results from Gallup's StrengthsFinder assessment from a Christian perspective. Measurement tools include StrengthsFinder results, repeated Likert-style questionnaires, and semi-structured interviews. The research shows that a strengths-based workshop positively influences participants' ability to identify and integrate their gifts for ministry.

Identifying Best Channels of Communication in a Millennial-Based New Church Start

Author
Jennifer M Edwards Bertrand
Abstract
This project seeks to identify the best channels of communication in a Millennial-based new church start in order to share the Gospel. A quantitative survey to the congregation identified the preferred and most-used communication channels, and qualitative focus group conversations culled the positive and negative experiences of different communication channels. The survey and conversations could be replicated in other congregations to obtain information about preferred and most used channels of communication in context. An analysis and utilization of this information could lead to more purposeful and meaningful communication within the congregation.

Hurdling the Language Barrier in Preaching

Author
Gennifer Benjamin Brooks
Abstract
In a culture that is increasingly global, pastors are often required to preach to congregations in cross-cultural and cross-language ministry situations. Understanding the language differential and using particular rhetorical techniques can facilitate a clear, effective transmission of the message. This project explores how a non-native English speaker can best preach to a native English speaking congregation and shows that a combination of vocal exercises, partnering with the congregation and the use of narrative preaching styles yield excellent results in preaching effective sermons in a cross-cultural, cross-language situation.
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