Theses/Dissertations - Truett

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    Fighting liturgy with liturgy : a study of the effects of liturgical catechesis on the civil religious formation of Army Ranger students.
    (2023-12) Barnes, Dairus.; Wilhite, David E.; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    This project studies the effects that historic Christian liturgical worship and liturgical catechesis has on the civil religious beliefs and dispositions of United States Army (USA) soldiers who are students at the USA Ranger School. Critical to this study is the understanding of religion not solely the relationship between a person or group and their deity. Rather, religion throughout is regarded as a cultural phenomenon centered around symbols that give meaning, unity, and order to a society. Religion, properly defined, cannot be separated from politics or economics, these domains are interlocking and interpenetrating categories. The theological foundation explores the rise and embodiment of American Civil Religion (ACR) through history as encapsulated in the American soldier. This thesis investigates the role of the soldier within ACR as its “G.I. Messiah” and how the citizen becomes the soldier through “thick” Army liturgies. The biblical foundation investigates the Revelation of Jesus according to John’s polemic toward Roman Civil Religion (RCR). This project relies upon “liturgical anthropology” as a foundation to understanding both civil religion, RCR and ACR, and the Revelation. The project tests the effects of liturgical worship, liturgical catechesis, and daily office prayers and reading on Army Ranger students through qualitative and quantitative research. Areas measured are patriotism, nationalism, ACR beliefs, and GI Messianism. This project measures the effect of corporate historic Christian liturgy and personal devotion, on the spiritual formation of soldiers. This project presents “a way” for Army chaplains to form their soldiers more into the likeness of Jesus and less in the likeness of the G.I. Messiah.
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    Vocation/calling as a framework for Christian character formation in college students.
    (2023-07-24) DeVries, Bryan Joseph.; White, John B., 1967-; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    This project examined the use of a Christian understanding of vocation/calling with first-year college students to discover how it contributed to their formation in Christian character. Over the course of a sixteen-week semester, a test group of students was taught a theological construct of vocation/calling and explored its implications for their lives, especially as it relates to higher education, work, and their relationships to God, others, and broader creation. A voluntary control group was utilized as well, which was formed by students taking a different course that focused on major exploration without the use of a vocation/calling framework. A pre-intervention survey served as a baseline assessment to discern students’ initial perceptions of vocation/calling and its impacts in their lives. At the conclusion of the semester, a similar post-intervention survey, supplemented by a long-form interview, was administered to gauge the impact of the vocation/calling curriculum on the test group in comparison to the control group. The purpose of this project was to equip college students with a more holistic perspective on the purpose and meaning of their lives and thereby lead to the development of character consistent with the Christian faith.
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    Developing a congregation-led homebound ministry in a rural context.
    (2020-11-05) Woodard, Morgan A.; Cook, Ronald Lee, 1949-; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    This project addressed the need for Golinda Baptist Church to establish a viable, long-term, homebound ministry. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effect of the intervention on the people of Golinda Baptist Church taking ownership of a viable, long-term, homebound ministry. The biblical foundation of this project primarily comprised Genesis 12:1-3, Exodus 3:7-17, Isaiah 61, Luke 4:16-30, and Acts 2:42-47. There are also various examples of these biblical principles exhibited throughout Church history. The biblical application of God working with humanity to restore creation is vital for the Golinda Baptist Church to engage the local homebound community. This project is an exercise in caring for the homebound through education, exposure to need, and asset-based service from a congregational perspective. I believe this project led to the successful establishment of a viable, long-term homebound ministry at Golinda Baptist Church.
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    Unity : helping a congregation with multiple venues for corporate worship experience common connection and purpose.
    (2020-11-05) Whitten, John Weldon, II; Creech, R. Robert (Richard Robert); Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    This project addressed the need for Pioneer Drive Baptist Church to experience unity. Consisting of three components, the project lasted six weeks. First, a pre-intervention survey was given to randomly selected church members. Second, participants in each of the two corporate worship venues at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church were required to listen to a six-week sermon series on unity. Third, a post-intervention survey was completed by participants evaluating their understanding and experience of unity after hearing the sermon series. The purpose of this project was to lead Pioneer Drive to a better understanding and experience of unity.
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    Alternative Parenting Experience : a training for increasing participation in foster care in the life and ministry of Memorial Baptist Church, Jefferson City, Missouri.
    (2020-11-05) Towns, Mark Edward.; Vang, Preben, 1955-; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    This project will introduce the Alternative Parenting Experience (APEX) training as a process for increasing participation in foster care in the life and ministry of Memorial Baptist Church, Jefferson City, Missouri. The project will implement a seven-week intervention with the APEX training, which has three main components: 1) training and certification as a Certified Respite Provider through the Cole County Department of Social Services, facilitated by a licensed social worker, 2) training on the biblical, theological, and social reasons for foster care in the local church, 3) engaging in two respite care events (one in-home interview and one three-hour group respite), and 4) a guided journal to record the experiences of each participant throughout the trainings. Eight church members were selected to participate in the APEX training, each of whom was asked to complete all seven-weeks of the intervention and to take part in pre- and post-intervention interviews. The research of this project was guided by two major research questions: 1) What effect did the APEX Training have on participants’ involvement in foster care in Jefferson City, Missouri and 2) What effect did the APEX Training have on members’ understanding of their relationship with God as parent?
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    Disruptively unorthodox : a qualitative exploration of the disruptive leadership paradigm of Christ as a model for marketplace organizations.
    (2020-11-05) Stephens, Edward Houston, III; Creech, R. Robert (Richard Robert); Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    The purpose of this study was to examine the disruptive leadership style of Jesus as a model of innovation which, if adapted by organizations in the marketplace, can potentially maintain their relevance and influence. By examining four core competencies located in Jesus’s leadership—communication, culture, contribution, and cultivation—this study explored both the organizational and spiritual implications of disruption as a form of leadership praxis. Using an historical, inductive review of the Christian scriptures, it demonstrates that disruptive leadership is as biblical a model as other leadership paradigms, and that it is most effective in democratic organizations where the ethos is not leader-centered but organizational-centered. Disruptive leadership depends on leaders who seek to answer the question, “In order to maintain our relevance and position, what do we need to change at any cost?” Therefore, organizations eager to position themselves as relevant and influential in the marketplace, given the ever-changing ethos of our global world, have much to gain using qualitative, case-study methodological research on Jesus’s disruptive leadership.
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    Introducing small groups to the concept and process of spiritual formation by utilizing the practice of lectio divina as a model.
    (2020-11-05) Richard, Matthew L.; Reed, Angela H.; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    The impact of Christendom on American life and culture is evident in the vast numbers of churches religious institutions, and denominational entities whose influence is apparent in activities ranging from healthcare to education. Following the methods of the industrial revolution, Christianity established and promoted itself through the creation of organizations, systems, and programs. While invaluable in developing and growing the reach and influence of Christianity, this legacy has been criticized by those who raise questions about loyalty to institutions in today’s post-modern era. In addition, some practitioners within the church recognize an inherent emphasis on group uniformity over personal spiritual formation in it. Reactions against organizational Christendom range from disaffiliating with Christianity altogether, to reinventing the faith in a way that seems to be detached from its historical expressions. This project contended that these reactions may overlook important commitments to personal spiritual formation within historical Christianity, and that such an emphasis might provide a balance of ministerial focus in which communal Christian activity springs from the formation of Christlike character. Thus, the focus of this project was not a reinventing or abandoning of established forms, but rather a recovery and renewal of spiritual formation for individuals in Christian community. It emphasized spiritual formation due to its intrinsic connection in shaping Christian character and behavior, and community in recognition that God can be experienced physically and uniquely in such a setting. The project did this by providing participants of a small group with instruction on historic Christian spiritual practices, and interactive group engagement over the course of several sessions in the practice of lectio divina. Reflection on God’s presence and activity within the group was facilitated through guided journaling and group sharing. The research of this project sought to determine how providing exposure to Christian spiritual practices/disciplines affected a group’s individual and communal awareness of and response to God, as perceived by themselves and the researcher through such activities as reading the Bible, interpreting life-events, following Jesus’ example, and listening and responding to others.
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    Capital punishment : Christians advocating for justice.
    (2020-11-05) Pickens, Carolyn Clay.; Olson, Roger E.; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    This project addressed the problem of there being a need for Christians who are members of Brentwood Baptist Church to advocate for justice in the administration of capital punishment. The pivotal question at the core of this intervention is: “What effect does an intervention that educates, exposes, and brings biblical and societal awareness of justly administering capital punishment have on Christians?” How will engaging these biblical truths and societal realities provide awareness and an opportunity for introspection of both the just administration of capital punishment and the movement of Christians to advocate for justice in this process? The subjects of this intervention were invited and compelled to honestly and earnestly answer questions and share beliefs on justice in the administration of capital punishment for the resolution of the following research questions: 1) “Can capital punishment be justly administered?” and 2) “Is capital punishment being justly administered?” Starting here, in Texas and reaching across this nation and to other nations, the Church is required to reflect the justice of God by seeking justice. It is from the heart and by the hand of Christians, that feeble, yet dynamic acts of advocacy serve to ignite a movement that will restore God’s justice to the administration of capital punishment.
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    Jesus and the relational God of love : helping disciples value a more fully Trinitarian journey toward maturity.
    (2020-11-05) Miller, James Robert.; Wilhite, David E.; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    Rather than being perplexed and giving up on the subject of the Trinity, what if normal, everyday disciples could be helped to cultivate a deeper value for the Trinitarian faith? Jesus and the Relational God of Love seeks to answer that question by laying a biblical and theological foundation of the self-revelation of God in the sending of the Son and the sending of the Spirit. At the center of the New Testament is Jesus Christ and his relationship with his Father in the shared love and communion of the Holy Spirit. Emphasizing the relational nature of God is an important step for helping normal, everyday disciples understand the importance of Trinitarian theology for discipleship and life together in the church. Jesus and the Relational God of Love contends that the long-term impact of a deepening value for Trinitarian worship, community, and mission will be tremendous. The project intervention described in this study helps discipleship school students in a foundational understanding of the Trinity and facilitates reproducing discipleship through an inductive Discovery Bible Study on “The Relational God of Love.” The implications of the project are practical and touch many areas of life including our personal lives, our church life together, our mission to the city, and our mission to the nations. The project represents the potential for a healthy adjustment in our basic view of God and the practical importance of Trinitarian discipleship for the future of the church.
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    Equipping Christian families with a distinctly Christian framework for evaluating and engaging youth sport.
    (2020-11-05) Dabbs, Roy Andrew Jr.; White, John B., 1967-; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    This project represents an attempt to find a constructive, pastoral way to approach the topic of Christian families’ involvement in youth sport. Six Christian married couples with at least one child involved in youth sport participated in a seminar designed to familiarize them with the Christian redemptive-historical drama and to teach them how to use creation, fall, and redemption as interpretive lenses through which to evaluate youth sport. Pre-intervention and post-intervention interviews were conducted, transcribed, and analyzed. The purpose of this project was to equip Christian families with a distinctly Christian framework for evaluating and engaging youth sport.
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    Evangelicals, gay persons, and hospitality.
    (2020-11-05) Coston, James Holmes.; Bender, Kimlyn J., 1969-; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    This project addressed how the evangelical Church can maintain biblical and theological integrity while showing intentional hospitality to gay persons. The qualitative research occurred in two phases. The first phase involved a survey of evangelical pastors ascertaining their church’s practices and attitudes toward welcoming gay persons into their churches. The second phase involved an intervention with a sample group of lay persons at First Baptist Church, Scottsdale, Arizona, to test a framework by which an evangelical Church might offer hospitality to gay persons. This included an initial assessment of their pre-existing attitudes, a course of study, individual interviews and a post-study assessment.
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    Excited to share : a process for energizing the practice of evangelism through Evangelism Sodalities.
    (2020-11-05) Chandler, C. Ross.; Arterbury, Andrew E.; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    Today’s church needs a process of evangelism that will energize its faithful practice. The purpose of this research project was to discover what effect an “Evangelism Sodality” intervention would have in helping Christians to be more faithful in practicing evangelism in their daily lives. A sodality, derived from the Latin word sodalitas meaning companionship, is a fellowship of people who come together in unity for a shared purpose. The intervention was based on research gathered from a ten-week “Evangelism Sodality.” Seven participants will partake in a ten-week study discussing the “Excited to Share” curriculum, praying for the filling of the Holy Spirit, and practicing evangelism in their daily lives. Using qualitative research methodology, the effectiveness of this “Evangelism Sodality” will be tested to determine if it resulted in a more faithful practice of evangelism in the participants’ lives. The data will be collected from interviews before and after the ten-week “Evangelism Sodality.” This project is based on biblical and theological foundations. The project’s effects upon the participant’s faithful practice of evangelism was immensely positive. The data demonstrated that the participants in the experimental group were energized in their practice of evangelism with five out of seven participants experiencing significant transformation. Conclusive evidence demonstrates a need to expand the length of the project for the local church.
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    Proclaiming atonement : a study of atonement, metaphors, and Christian preaching.
    (2020-11-05) Brown, Trevor N.; Olson, Roger E.; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    The content of the gospel is formational for the life of the church. If the church can speak more fully and fluently about the decisive moment in salvation history, it has much to gain. Yet, this has proven to be no simple task. Despite its resting place at the center of Christian theology, the doctrine of atonement is marked by historic irresolution. Preachers and parishioners alike struggle to convey how and why the death of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross brings salvation to humankind. Language of Christ’s saving work appears pushed to its limits, with some seeking untenable narrowness and others embracing muddled abstractions. Yet, Christian scriptures provide various necessary, complimentary ways of articulating the meaning and significance of the death of Jesus Christ. Language about the cross is shown to be multi-dimensional. Metaphor is revealed as the best way to think and speak about atonement. This project identifies and explores the variety of metaphors employed throughout the Bible and Christian history to explain God’s saving work in Christ. In light of ongoing debates and recent postmodern critiques, this project considered how preachers might use language that avoids pitfalls of confusion and reductionism. Through an analysis of thirty recent sermons from Baptist churches in Texas, the project provided findings concerning the current use of atonement metaphors in preaching and suggested emphases for future proclamation. Primary findings included: 1) sermons exhibited a diversity of metaphors, 2) ransom and redemption metaphors appeared most often, 3) penal language was rarely connected with explicit retributive justice, and 4) atonement language and metaphors were frequently conflated incoherently. Secondary findings revealed: 1) sermons frequently interpreted the atonement through other biblical texts, 2) atonement was explained almost exclusively in terms of the individual’s relationship to God and self, and 3) sermons revealed forgiveness as an atonement term of choice. The findings of this research call for greater clarity in the gospel message today and empower the church to consider what proclaiming atonement to one’s neighbor will mean tomorrow.
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    The Gospel Arc : a preaching model to help preachers experience a living encounter with Jesus Christ and his salvation with all of Scripture while preparing and proclaiming the sermon.
    (2017) Hatton, Jeffrey Christian.; Still, Todd D.; Truett Seminary; Baylor University. George W. Truett Seminary
    Those who preach with him in view, encounter him anew. This project will introduce the Gospel Arc preaching model to address the need for preachers to experience a living encounter with Jesus Christ and his salvation with the biblical text while preparing and proclaiming the sermon. The project will implement the Gospel Arc preaching model intervention with two mixed components: 1) a quantitative pre- and post-survey, and 2) the qualitative components of training local pastors in the Gospel Arc preaching model, implementing them in the participants’ own preaching contexts for three weeks in close succession, and keeping a weekly guided journal during the Gospel Arc preaching model intervention. The purpose of the Gospel Arc preaching model intervention will be to determine the effect that the Gospel Arc preaching model has on the preacher’s experience of Jesus Christ and his salvation within the biblical text while preparing and proclaiming the sermon.