Reformed churches

"What happened?" and "What now?": exploring how Reformed pastors minister to the parents of apostate emerging adults

Author
Joost Nixon
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore how Reformed pastors minister to the parents of prodigal emerging adult children. This study focused on three key areas that affect how pastors minister to the parents of apostate emerging adults: the religious lives of emerging adults, biblical and theological concerns regarding baptism, apostasy, and covenantal status of children, and policies churches have employed to minister to apostate young adults and their parents. This study utilized a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with Reformed pastors in the Northwestern United States. This study found that parents have a strong shaping influence on their children's religious faith, and that prevention through consistent reinforcement of covenantal indicatives and parental example is critical, and that redemptive solutions to apostate emerging adults must embrace the entire church community.

Effective ministry in rural Iowa

Author
Daniel W Zink
Abstract
A qualitative study was done to gain a greater understanding of the attributes of effective ministries in rural Iowa. A forty-question church effectiveness survey, developed for the purpose of identifying effective rural churches, was mailed to the pastors of sixty-seven rural Reformed churches in northern Iowa. Data was gathered through six focus group meetings which revealed the following five characteristics of effective rural churches: a leadership team characterized by open discussion and good communication, a comfortable atmosphere, a willingness to address and resolve difficulties and an ability to trust each other; Willingness to experiment with new ideas for the church; Encouragement of members to participate and use their gifts; Involvement in the community; Friendliness towards and encouragement of members and non-members.

Faith seeking disciples: a study towards reforming evangelism

Author
James C Horn
Abstract
This apologetic reclaims evangelism's rightful place within the Reformed tradition. Historical perspectives of American Presbyterian evangelism show that unresolved tensions over the certainty of conversion, sudden or nurtured, were absorbed by compromise. Theological and biblical inquiries searched the salient underpinnings for Reformed evangelism. Are new models possible today? The study investigated works of Calvin, Barth, Moltmann and others, with new contributions made. Conclusions present evangelism in the context of Christian vocation, discernment of being chosen by Christ for the Lord's purposes as proof of discipleship. The overall model was a funded collegial Doctor of Ministry group of 12 students focusing in Advanced Seminary Studies of Evangelism in the Reformed Tradition. The author is founder/director of ASSERT which is being evaluated by PC(USA) seminaries and faculty for effectiveness in developing leaders in evangelism.

Systematic preparation to improve the entry procedure in the local pastorate

Author
Lyle Schrag
Abstract
Certain patterns of relationship are established between a pastor and congregation during the first year or what is known as "honeymoon". Using research involving pastors from the Evangelical Free Church, Conservative Baptist, Baptist General Conference, and Conservative Congregational groups, key transitional issues were identified. These provide a basis for the final product: a three-part workbook to be used to aid a pastor: 1) resolve the past; 2) establish present expectations with the congregation; and 3) initiate future plans.

Reformed parishes and responsiveness to the poor

Author
Douglas L Perkins
Abstract
The hypothesis of this project is that when affluent Christians from a Reformed background socialize regularly with the underclass ("class networking") their prejudices toward "the poor" are more likely to be reduced than are the prejudices of Reformed affluent Christians who do not encounter the underclass. The aim of the project is twofold: 1) to discover, through a historical case study, a Reformed precedent for "class networking", and 2) test such "class networking" among some of today's Reformed laity in the Washington, D C area. Dr Thomas Chalmers and his nineteenth century class networking in urban Scotland is chosen as the Reformed precedent. Two groups of affluent laity (one experimental, one control) are selected at random from Reformed parishes to engage in a one-year test of the hypothesis. Results underscore the validity of the hypothesis. The experimental group becomes less prejudiced toward "the poor" after the year of socializing and the control group shows no change or more prejudice after its year of non-involvement with "the poor".

Ministering toward congregational maturity: a reformed perspective

Author
Thomas P Eggebeen
Abstract
The purpose of the thesis is to provide: 1) insights into the relevance of the Reformed tradition for congregational life; 2) examples and analysis of programs useful in creating a Reformed consciousness; and 3) a critique of fundamentalism. The focus of each chapter is as follows: 1) the theology and practice of infant baptism as the beginning point of a Reformed ministry; 2) spiritual confidence as the chief result of living within the Reformed tradition; 3) the reality and function of doubt within the believer's life; and 4) basic thoughts for Reformed spirituality.

An electronic church awareness guide

Author
G Henry Wells
Abstract
The phenomenon of the emerging electronic church in America has for the most part caught the local church without real guidelines for evaluating its message and impact or determining what alternative kinds of media utilization is possible and desirable. This dissertation/project presents the Reformed Presbyterian tradition as a model by which it critically analyzes the electronic church. Although the electronic church meets several of the criteria describing a church in the Reformed translation, it fails most often in two primary areas--sacramental and community. The Electronic Church Awareness Guide is designed to aid in one's investigation and learning about electronic media and the church.
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