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Nearer My God To Thee: How Biblical Preaching Fosters Intimacy With God, Warren Lee Domenick Jr May 2018

Nearer My God To Thee: How Biblical Preaching Fosters Intimacy With God, Warren Lee Domenick Jr

Doctor of Ministry Theses

We desire it. We long to be in its presence. We look for it in everything we see and hear and smell and touch and taste. We someday hope to have it surrounding us, holding us close. It is intimacy with God. Moreover, in it, we are somehow able to find a connection with God. Intimacy with God first belongs to God. God is the measure by which all intimacy is evaluated. Some would say that God is intimacy. God is revealed to us through intimacy which is both accurate and right; one might say, an intimacy that is authentic ...


(Re)Discovering A Midrashic Biblical Imagination For The Progressive-Liberal Community, Elisabeth R. Jones May 2018

(Re)Discovering A Midrashic Biblical Imagination For The Progressive-Liberal Community, Elisabeth R. Jones

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This thesis presents the case for the development of a sustainable community practice of midrashic biblical imagination as a catalyst for transformative engagement with the Bible in progressive Christian congregations. Notes that a midrashic imagination applied to the polyvalent testimonies of the biblical canon is an apt partner for post- modern, progressive congregations, whose theology embraces diversity, plurality, and critique of hegemonic structures. Uses a longitudinal qualitative methodology, with Appreciative Inquiry, to trace the various methods used for cultivating curiosity among Scriptural skeptics over nine years, concluding with the Midrashic Imagination Project, which involves the community in study, worship, preaching ...


Real People, Real Faith, Real God: Encountering The Divine In Preaching Biblical Characters, Cynthia Halvorson May 2018

Real People, Real Faith, Real God: Encountering The Divine In Preaching Biblical Characters, Cynthia Halvorson

Doctor of Ministry Theses

Using the Action/Reflection method, this project examines sermons which aim at the heart by using character development within a storytelling sermon style. This thesis considers the effectiveness of intentional reimagining of biblical witnesses by overlying behavioral styles and archetypical fears and desires onto various characters of the Gospel of John. It designs a methodology for intentional development of characters and examines the responses of the listeners. It asserts the value of creating space within a sermon for the listener to encounter the Divine by identifying with the people of scripture.


Seeing Salvation: The Effectiveness Of Preaching On The Sacramental Life In A Salvation Army Context, Steven Mark Cameron May 2018

Seeing Salvation: The Effectiveness Of Preaching On The Sacramental Life In A Salvation Army Context, Steven Mark Cameron

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This thesis begins by acknowledging that The Salvation Army is a non-practicing sacramental church. The Army abandoned the practice of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper officially in 1883 and its focus since then has been on developing holiness through sacramental living. The sacraments have been a topic of theological conversation in Army since the 1883 decision. In recent years, in Canada, this conversation has become increasingly divisive with questions being raised as to the soundness of the Army’s position. To bring opposing positions into a place of dialogue this thesis project engages in a five ...


Recapture The Call: A Theology Of Preaching As Proclamation In The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Tricia L. Tedrow May 2018

Recapture The Call: A Theology Of Preaching As Proclamation In The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Tricia L. Tedrow

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This thesis explores preaching as proclamation in light of recent changes to the title and description for ordained ministers in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Reflection on Scripture, confessional statements of the denomination and writings on the theology of preaching lead to a theology of preaching as proclamation written by the author. Two sermons are compared to show how the creation of a theology of preaching sharpens one’s preaching. The thesis concludes with reflections on how style, voice and the issue of power in proclamation have a place in the future of preaching in the Presbyterian Church (U ...


Preaching To Shape Christian Witness: He Cannot Be The Messiah, Can He?, Christine M. Bellefeuille May 2018

Preaching To Shape Christian Witness: He Cannot Be The Messiah, Can He?, Christine M. Bellefeuille

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This action-reflection project explores the effectiveness of preaching in shaping witnesses to tell their own stories of their experiences of God. Uses preaching that models witness, helps the listener identify experiences of God and offers language for disciples to use in their own witness. Also explores the challenges of preaching to a congregation that has experienced uncertain theological grounding and conflict. Other considerations explored are trust, changing calls mid-doctoral program, and project fit.


Confessional Biblical Preaching In The Face Of Whiteness: Challenging The Preacher’S Understanding Of White Supremacy, Laurie P. Feille May 2018

Confessional Biblical Preaching In The Face Of Whiteness: Challenging The Preacher’S Understanding Of White Supremacy, Laurie P. Feille

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This thesis addresses the need for preachers to hear the voices of people of color, to hear the “prophets in the streets,” specifically African-Americans, and to have their eyes opened to their own white privilege and role in white supremacy. This thesis argues that this is an important step in preachers finding their confessional voices for preaching before they can begin to help the individual members of those congregations become aware of their individual and collective white privilege and role in white supremacy. With the help of black clergy a “Twin Cities Pilgrimage” was created. This involved learning the stories ...


Digital And Analog Preaching In A Multi-Media World, Ramona Hayes May 2018

Digital And Analog Preaching In A Multi-Media World, Ramona Hayes

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This thesis explores the reception of sermons by two groups: “Analogs,” people who were formed primarily through the written page and who gather and process information linearly, and “Digitals,” people who were formed by digital communication and who gather and process information in sound bites. Using the Action/Reflection model, a series of sermons was presented: a manuscript sermon, an integrated worship/sermon, a TED Talk style sermon, a participatory sermon, and a multiple learning style sermon. Preaching a sermon which engages both groups has the potential to increase engagement with the biblical text and growth in faith.


Table, Food, Waiter: Preaching The Eucharist To Today’S Popular Food Culture, Richard W. Vevia Jr May 2018

Table, Food, Waiter: Preaching The Eucharist To Today’S Popular Food Culture, Richard W. Vevia Jr

Doctor of Ministry Theses

The centrality of the Eucharist to the Church cannot be underestimated. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, decreased frequency of shared meals, a growing distrust of food, and a disregard for the obligations and responsibilities that accompany eating have resulted in a disconnection between the Eucharist and daily life. This thesis will demonstrate the loci method derived from Philip Melanchthon’s Loci Communes as a tool for gathering scripture and non-scriptural sources around loci suggested by Catherine of Siena: Table, Food, and Waiter. The aim of this thesis is that it will aid preachers preparing sermons that address ...


Lutheran Higher Education In A Secular Age: Religious Identity And Mission At Elca Colleges And Universities, Brian A.F. Beckstrom Apr 2018

Lutheran Higher Education In A Secular Age: Religious Identity And Mission At Elca Colleges And Universities, Brian A.F. Beckstrom

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This exploratory mixed methods case study examined the relationship between espoused and perceived religious identity and mission at five colleges and universities of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America through the lenses of secularization theory, missional leadership, ecclesiology, Trinitarian theology, adaptive leadership, and challenges in the higher education market. Results indicated that humanism is the primary means of describing religious identity and mission at ELCA schools and there are widely varying assumptions about what it means to be a college or university of the church. Advocates and skeptics of the institution’s religious identity and mission interpret reality through the ...


God’S Beautiful Mission: Missional Church And Leadership In The Light Of Theological Aesthetics, M. Scott Boren Apr 2018

God’S Beautiful Mission: Missional Church And Leadership In The Light Of Theological Aesthetics, M. Scott Boren

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This project seeks to ascertain how pastoral leaders who have been trained in missional theology have led in a way that has been influenced by theological aesthetics. The view of missional leadership here is built upon a re-imagination of missio Dei and missional church that is informed by theological aesthetics. This theology of beauty is based upon the work of Gregory A. Boyd, Jonathan Edwards, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This proposal seeks to advance the views of the missional church rooted in the work of Lesslie Newbigin and advanced by Craig Van Gelder, Alan Roxburgh, and Pat ...


Perichoretic Worship: Cultivating Relationships With The Triune God, With One Another, And With The World, Greg G. Busboom Apr 2018

Perichoretic Worship: Cultivating Relationships With The Triune God, With One Another, And With The World, Greg G. Busboom

Doctor of Ministry Theses

A Participatory Action Research (PAR) study focusing on perichoretic worship as a way of cultivating holy relationship with the Triune God, with others, and with the world. Theoretical lenses include ritual studies, Faith Development Theory, and personhood in social relationships. Theological lenses include perichoresis, Lutheran worship, and faith practices. Using both quantitative and qualitative research, the study explores the practice of Christian worship in a large Lutheran congregation and seeks to grow active participation in the missional work of the Triune God through worship grounded in Word and Sacrament. Presents the Triune God as the active subject of Christian worship.


Definitively Lutheran?: An Exploration Of Definitive Lutheran Characteristics In Higher Education, John Eggen Apr 2018

Definitively Lutheran?: An Exploration Of Definitive Lutheran Characteristics In Higher Education, John Eggen

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This mixed-method, exploratory case study explores definitively Lutheran practices in higher education. This research explores emerging themes from Intersections and other publications reflecting upon institutional religious identity. This research explores the student experiences, expectations, and perspectives through a student survey and the perspectives of institutional leadership through qualitative research. It evaluates definitive characteristics of Lutheran higher education through the lenses of adaptive change, organizational theory, open systems theory, Lutheran identity, vocation, and exploring an understanding of missional, cruciform, perichoretic communities from the Pauline epistles. The results reveal limited statistically significant difference among students based on religious affiliation, but a divergent ...


Faith Formation For Families In A Post-Programmatic Era, Susan Megrund Apr 2018

Faith Formation For Families In A Post-Programmatic Era, Susan Megrund

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This thesis project sought to answer the question: What are effective ways for congregations to engage in ways of faith formation that encourage spiritual growth and Christian identity in over-programmed families, so they may see God as an active subject in their daily lives? The research in this thesis included case studies from the current congregation I am serving in, and other selected congregations. While implementing my research, I discovered that we struggle to find the right language around how to address the issue of busy families. When asking colleagues for input, the responses went back to the implementation of ...


Deepening Community: Dispelling The Myth Of Small Through A Gospel Of The Small, Sarah R. Cordray Apr 2017

Deepening Community: Dispelling The Myth Of Small Through A Gospel Of The Small, Sarah R. Cordray

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This transformative, mixed-methods research project utilized a modified PAR in order to strengthen inter-relationships of a congregation and with its community. Intentional small acts of conversation and listening were utilized as the main tool to implement change, as participants were awakened from the myth of small-town living, in which assumptions of connectedness were made. This project was deepened through the use of key theoretical, biblical, and theological lenses, such as: community, social capital, open systems theory, transformational leadership, hearing, incarnation, perichoresis, and a sense of belonging. Results revealed a deepened sense of community, a growing awareness of inter-relationships, key differences ...


Generous Leaders, Generous Congregations: A Study Of The Relationship Between The Financial Generosity Of Congregational Leaders And The Financial Generosity Of Their Congregations, Ryan D. Brodin Jan 2017

Generous Leaders, Generous Congregations: A Study Of The Relationship Between The Financial Generosity Of Congregational Leaders And The Financial Generosity Of Their Congregations, Ryan D. Brodin

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This sequential explanatory mixed methods comparative case study research project explores personal financial generosity in pastors and Congregational Council members of five suburban mainline congregations to discover what influence their generosity has on the congregations they lead. This research involved a survey of all the leaders, interviews with each pastor, focus groups with Congregational Council members, and financial statistics for each congregation. Although there are many insights in this research project regarding financial generosity in leaders and congregations, the results do not show a direct influence of the personal financial generosity of the leaders on the financial generosity of the ...


Opening To Revelation: Building Discernment Processes From Practices That Best Inform Communal Decision Making, Chris Alexander Jan 2017

Opening To Revelation: Building Discernment Processes From Practices That Best Inform Communal Decision Making, Chris Alexander

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This sequential explanatory mixed methods research project investigates the spiritual discernment processes of a Christian congregation in the United Church of Christ. The study identifies most utilized and most helpful practices of spiritual discernment within the areas of prayer, conversation, community, and media. This research shows how engaging spiritual practices influences participation in decision making by Christian congregations.


A Congregation Engaging In Missional Dialogue: Strengthening Discernment Amid Diversity Through Healthy Congregational Dialogue, Jeffrey M. Wilson Jan 2017

A Congregation Engaging In Missional Dialogue: Strengthening Discernment Amid Diversity Through Healthy Congregational Dialogue, Jeffrey M. Wilson

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This transformative mixed-methods modified Participatory Action Research (PAR) project was used to investigate and affect healthy and faithful discernment and decision-making in a diverse congregation within the reality of being the body of Christ in mission. Data were collected utilizing baseline and end-line surveys, recorded and transcribed meetings and interviews, and memos. The data revealed that people who engaged in the research process grew in their perception of the congregation as being healthy and faithful in discernment and decision-making. This research shows that mutual responsibility, respect, trust, and interdependence between leaders and congregation members helps us focus on God’s ...


Walk Me To The Gate: Christian Practices Of Accompaniment With People Who Are Dying And Their Families, Yolanda Kali Denson-Byers Jan 2017

Walk Me To The Gate: Christian Practices Of Accompaniment With People Who Are Dying And Their Families, Yolanda Kali Denson-Byers

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This mixed-methods concurrent triangulation research project asks, “What practices should we incorporate into the hospice ministry of Fellowship Lutheran Church in order to help dying people and their families experience a peaceful death with love?” Utilizing two focus groups, four interviews, and a congregational census, this project finds that research participants are terrorized by death and are hungry for hospice and bereavement ministries provided by their community of faith. This exploratory project illuminates the specific practices which missional congregations may utilize to empower the priesthood of all believers to create a beloved community which points to the hope of resurrection.


Looking Back To Move Forward: Youth Ministry And Its Effect On The Faith And Christian Practices Of Today's Adults, Andrew A. Taylor Jan 2017

Looking Back To Move Forward: Youth Ministry And Its Effect On The Faith And Christian Practices Of Today's Adults, Andrew A. Taylor

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This mixed methods explanatory research project investigated the effectiveness of youth ministry practices in shaping, or failing to shape, adult Christian faith. Fifty-nine former youth group members from three congregations were surveyed, and six were interviewed: two active Christians, two inactive Christians, and two non-Christians. Results revealed the active Christians had experienced a personal sense of God’s presence and witnessed God’s activity in the public sphere. This suggests that youth ministry would do well to utilize practices that encourage adolescents to experience and articulate a sense of God’s presence in both their personal lives and in the ...


Cultivating The Holy Callings Of Ordinary Saints: The Church At Work For The Life Of The World, Jeffrey A. Eisele Jan 2016

Cultivating The Holy Callings Of Ordinary Saints: The Church At Work For The Life Of The World, Jeffrey A. Eisele

Doctor of Ministry Theses

The Christian Church has long struggled to make better connections between Sunday and Monday by effectively equipping the priesthood of all believers for living out its faith in the world. This thesis reports the results of a participatory action research project aimed at cultivating connections between faith, baptismal callings, daily work, and the missio Dei through several congregational interventions. The results showed the effectiveness of cultivating a congregational culture through worship, faith formation activities, service, and especially small groups, for the purpose of strengthening congregation members’ witness in the workplace.



Mystagogical Preaching In The Episcopal Church: Connecting Sermon And Liturgy, Daniel John Justin Jan 2016

Mystagogical Preaching In The Episcopal Church: Connecting Sermon And Liturgy, Daniel John Justin

Doctor of Ministry Theses

Seeks to determine the effectiveness of mystagogical preaching for communicating the theology of the Episcopal Church as it is presented in the liturgies of the Book of Common Prayer. Mystagogy is a liturgical theology leading worshipers deeper into the mysteries of the faith as they are experienced in the liturgy. This study uses an action/reflection research method seeking to determine participants understanding of the liturgical rites in question prior to the sermon and if that understanding changes after hearing a mystagogical sermon. Surveys including both quantitative and qualitative questions are used to measure effectiveness of this style of preaching.


Preaching More Effectively To Multiple Generations, Lynne Kammeraad Jan 2016

Preaching More Effectively To Multiple Generations, Lynne Kammeraad

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This thesis explores the possibility of preaching more effectively to multiple generations at the same time. There are currently six generations (G.I., Silent, Boomer, Generation X, Millennial, and Unnamed) represented in the congregation where this research was conducted. First-person narrative, object-based, and story-based sermon styles were presented and tested to determine if a particular style was more effective. The definition used for effective preaching included the need for instruction, a delightful presentation, and persuasion to be present. Preaching effectively to multiple generations has the potential of shaping other ministries in the church in profound ways, and build strong multi-generational ...


The Joy Of The Lord Is Your Strength: How Your Passions Can Serve God's Mission In The World, Jay Grave Jan 2016

The Joy Of The Lord Is Your Strength: How Your Passions Can Serve God's Mission In The World, Jay Grave

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This participatory action research project utilizes praxis events to enhance the understanding of Lutheran vocation in relationship to joy bringing activities. The research question driving this project is,

How would a participatory action research (PAR) intervention utilizing praxis events encourage congregational members to recognize and exercise their own gifts and passions as avenues of joyous participation in God’s mission in the world?

Data were collected through baseline and end-line interviews, transcribed meetings of a journey team, and census surveys. Data revealed that participation did yield a positive change effect on the understanding of joy bringing passions to enhance the ...


Preparing Transformational Sermons: An Attitudinal Model Of Sermonic Application, Donald G. Bryant Jr. Jan 2016

Preparing Transformational Sermons: An Attitudinal Model Of Sermonic Application, Donald G. Bryant Jr.

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This mixed method, action-reflection project explores the results of attitudinal rather than a behavioral sermon-application model. The research project delves into the change in the listener’s perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs through sermons deliberately designed for attitudinal application of the gospel. My project will attempt to assess whether such an intentional focus on attitudinal application can impact heart transformation. I hoped to study sermons that transform the human heart as opposed to legalistic (behavior-based) sermons within evangelical churches.


Cultivating Biblical Imagination Through Preaching, Edward N. Kay Jan 2016

Cultivating Biblical Imagination Through Preaching, Edward N. Kay

Doctor of Ministry Theses

Explores the ways preaching can help increase familiarity and comfort with scripture so people are able to interpret their daily experiences and lifetime milestones with God’s story revealed in the Bible. The importance of narrative is explored, especially in relationship with competing narratives in today’s world. A variety of forms of interactive preaching are explored to evaluate the ability of the sermon to increase biblical imagination: biblical storytelling, people talking to one another, and writing down reflections to act on in the future. Sermons were preached in multiple ELCA congregation in a variety of contexts.


Telling The Old, Old Stories: Reconnecting With Jesus' Parables Through Biblical Storytelling, Kathryn L. Skoglund Jan 2016

Telling The Old, Old Stories: Reconnecting With Jesus' Parables Through Biblical Storytelling, Kathryn L. Skoglund

Doctor of Ministry Theses

Suggests the use of biblical storytelling as a means of presenting Jesus’ parables in order to regain their original power. Uses the practice of biblical storytelling, contrasted with simple reading of the text from the Bible. Examines the responses of congregations from two churches comparing reactions of those who heard six parables told as a story to those who heard them read from the Bible. Also notes the connection the method of presentation of the parables has to listeners’ engagement with the sermon. Includes discussion with confirmation-aged students regarding the efficacy of biblical storytelling.


Exploring The Effectiveness Of Field Preaching Evangelism In The United Methodist Church, Paul D. Johnsen Jan 2016

Exploring The Effectiveness Of Field Preaching Evangelism In The United Methodist Church, Paul D. Johnsen

Doctor of Ministry Theses

Explores present-day versions of John Wesley’s field-preaching. Wesley preached in fields, at marketplaces and in a variety of other outdoor settings. Field-preaching requires pastors to take their preaching ministry beyond church buildings. This thesis considers the effectiveness of pastors who preach at restaurants, coffee shops, bars and in rented spaces. It also evaluates the cost of these efforts. It argues that reclaiming this historic Methodist practice helps reach a population and demographic currently not served by most United Methodist congregations.


Earth Stewardship And The Missio Dei: Participating In The Care And Redemption Of All God Has Made, David M. Carlson Jan 2016

Earth Stewardship And The Missio Dei: Participating In The Care And Redemption Of All God Has Made, David M. Carlson

Doctor of Ministry Theses

This explanatory sequential mixed methods research project surveyed leaders and conducted focus group interviews in an ELCA synod. It evaluated earthkeeping practices and perceptions using several lenses: sustainability, globalization, global civil society, nature as active subject, stewardship as participating in God’s mission, perichoresis as modeling reciprocal relationships with nature, eschatological themes of redemption and reformation, and sacramental imagination. Results revealed concern about environmental challenges, openness to earth stewardship, significant differences by political preference, and more pronounced personal than congregational practices. Congregations with creation care teams have promising capacity to exhibit earth stewardship’s missional character through personal, congregational, and ...


Preaching Effectively To The Unchurched, Rodney Reed Carlson Jan 2016

Preaching Effectively To The Unchurched, Rodney Reed Carlson

Doctor of Ministry Theses

Explores the question of how to preach effectively today to the growing number of Americans who have never regularly attended church or long ago stopped attending. The current challenges of Biblical illiteracy in the population, an increasing cultural hostility toward Christians, and a growing perception by many (especially the millennial generation) of the irrelevancy of Christianity are addressed. Biblical preaching that has proven to be ineffective with the unchurched is noted with special focus given to preaching that has been proven to be effective.