Discernment: Theology and the Practice of Ministry

http://digitalcommons.acu.edu/discernment/

List of Papers (Total 21)

A Reader's Guide to Intergenerational Ministry and Faith Formation

The concept of intergenerational ministry and faith formation has gained an increasing number of proponents over the last thirty years. Because of the burgeoning literature produced in this field, we have assembled an annotated bibliography intended to give practitioners and church members an overview of the printed work that addresses this important approach to ministry and...

Practicing Missional Hospitality in a Suburban Church

The West Houston Church of Christ is typical of many churches in North America that struggle to relate in meaningful ways to the surrounding culture. Over thirty years West Houston changed from a small, vibrant young church with a thriving family-like atmosphere to a large church in a new building, yet mourning its loss of family connections. It was struggling to find a new...

Fostering Healing through Narrative Transformation

The methodology developed for recent research originated from the idea that God is constantly transforming and adapting a congregation’s narrative. With this in mind, it becomes imperative for church leaders to discern how God continues to alter the congregation’s narrative in order to effectively reach out to an immediate context. To assist church leaders to identify God’s...

Shared Leadership in Congregations: How to Construct a Holding Environment to do Adaptive Work

Many congregations struggle to adapt to changes in their environment. Congregational and pastoral leadership is an important factor in a congregation’s success or failure. The emerging practice of Shared Leadership offers congregational leaders one tool that might help them successfully engage in the adaptive work necessary in the face of a changing environment. Recent research...

Cruciformity, Differentiation, and Christian Spiritual Formation

This paper is an examination of two seemingly counterintuitive concepts in Christian spiritual formation. The concept of cruciformity presents the goal of spiritual formation as kenosis, or “emptying oneself of self.” The differentiation of self, as presented in Systems Theory, defines maturity as possessing a clear sense of self. Cruciformity, with its call to kenosis, does not...

Toward Just Hospitality

The ministry of Jesus moved through times of seeking justice, sharing hospitality, and withdrawing for prayer. Though inescapably “other” because of his divine identity, he sought solidarity with humans by becoming human and interacting with humanity through hospitable practices. The Ancient Mediterranean customs of hospitality were well-defined, but Jesus took this powerful...

Developing a Spiritual Leadership Curriculum at West University Church of Christ

In the fall of 2015, I worked with a small group of congregational members to develop a spiritual leadership curriculum for the West Houston Church of Christ. Many of the congregation’s leaders were feeling a sense of burnout and weariness in ministry. They yearned to deepen their own connection with God to energize their ministry. This article relates the history of the...

The Minister-Elder Relationship within “Churches That Work”

This essay is the summary of a research project focused on how the minister-elder relationship in Churches of Christ can facilitate missional transformation in an established church. Twenty-five reputable congregations of Churches of Christ were researched that were profiled as “Churches That Work” by The Christian Chronicle from 2006-2013. A survey was conducted of these...

Reframing Poverty for Christian Students

This paper presents a project in which I led a group of students at a suburban Christian school in experiences that challenged them to be more engaged with those in their community who are experiencing an economic disadvantage. At the outset, the two presenting problems were: (1) a lack of experience with those who are at an economic disadvantage; and (2) a prevalence of...

The Minister-Elder Relationship within “Churches That Work”

This essay is the summary of a research project focused on how the minister-elder relationship in Churches of Christ can facilitate missional transformation in an established church. Twenty-five reputable congregations of Churches of Christ were researched that were profiled as “Churches That Work” by The Christian Chronicle from 2006-2013. A survey was conducted of these...

The Perceived Need for Spiritual Development among Female Church of Christ Students at Harding University

This work explores how female students perceive their need for personal spiritual development. In a male-dominant structure, women may question their need to develop spiritually. Three areas of college life were investigated to see how they influenced female students’ perception of their own need for spiritual development: pre-college experiences, classroom experiences, and co...

Through the Lens of the Cross: Cruciformity as a Model for Teaching Ministry

As the contemporary church travels deeper into the postmodern era, modern methods of education and catechesis have remained. In this paper, a foundational set of principles drawn from Michael Gorman’s analysis of Pauline spirituality—known as “cruciformity”—is examined and presented as a lens to inform and support the teaching ministry in churches. Gorman’s thought provides a...

A Narrative, Missional Approach to Discipleship and Spiritual Growth

All Christians have the desire to grow in faith and knowledge of God. The difficulty is that most do not have the tools to help them accomplish the task. While churches desire to help their members grow in faith, many have never created an intentional plan to make spiritual formation possible. While there are a multitude of ways this could be accomplished, one avenue would be for...

Through the Lens of the Cross: Cruciformity as a Model for Teaching Ministry

As the contemporary church travels deeper into the postmodern era, modern methods of education and catechesis have remained. In this paper, a foundational set of principles drawn from Michael Gorman’s analysis of Pauline spirituality—known as “cruciformity”—is examined and presented as a lens to inform and support the teaching ministry in churches. Gorman’s thought provides a...

The Initiation of Growth-Focused Relationships Involving Healthy Accountability

This paper summarizes a Doctor of Ministry project thesis conducted in 2011 that introduced healthy accountability within growth-focused relationships to shape an emergent spiritual growth culture at the Carbondale Church of Christ. The theological basis for the intervention (1) uses Romans 12 to establish the Christian community, not the individual, as the ultimate vision of...

Launching a New Journal: Problems, Questions, Answers, and Hopes

In the initial pages of this journal, we provide an explanation of its mission—rigorous and accessible conversation among those working at the intersection of theology and ministerial practice. We list the obstacles to that conversation, and the means by which this journal overcomes them. This essay also imagines and describes various settings in which an e‐journal containing the...

Launching a New Journal: Problems, Questions, Answers, and Hopes

In the initial pages of this journal, we provide an explanation of its mission—rigorous and accessible conversation among those working at the intersection of theology and ministerial practice. We list the obstacles to that conversation, and the means by which this journal overcomes them. This essay also imagines and describes various settings in which an e‐journal containing the...