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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The transformative learning experiences of Southern California church-based small group members
by Mikaelian, Mariet, Ph.D., Biola University, 2016, 305; 10243650
Abstract (Summary)

The main purpose of this research was to explore the ways the members of church-based small groups of various denominations in Southern California have experienced transformative learning, and to identify the factors that contribute to that experience.

A qualitative research was conducted. Purposeful sampling was used, and the data was collected by semi structured interviews between May to September 2015. The interviewees had at least two years of experience in a church-based small group and had experienced a major change in their worldviews and values. A total of 22 people from six different churches were selected. Data was analyzed using the program NVivo 10.

The data analysis was done in two main sections. In the first section the transformative learning experiences of the participants were discussed. Some of the transformative learning experiences of the participants had started outside the small group, but the small group supported the person during the hard time of transformation. In the second section factors that fostered transformative learning were discussed. Ten major themes came up: relationships, Bible, God, good examples, problems, ministry, Christian literature, willingness, preaching of the church and church retreats. The most prominent theme was relationship, which had two main subcategories: Small group and one on one relationships. Small group in itself had nine subcategories: praying, discussion, love, sharing, accountability, transparency, support, fellowship and safe environment.

Implications of the study were presented: the church should faithfully teach the Bible; the church should provide opportunities for the members to get connected and develop relationships; to foster transformation within the small group, besides studying the Bible, the leader should provide room for discussions, sharing and fellowship; to support the members during transformation the group should be a safe haven, the Bible should be taught, but also relationships should be nurtured by sharing, praying for each other and holding each other accountable; role models should be available; serving should be encouraged; the members should be exposed to Christian literature; joining sermon-based small groups should be encouraged ; the group leaders should be attentive to the Spirit’s works and flexible to adapt their plans.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lawson, Kevin E.
Commitee: Cunningham, Shelly, Hellerman, Joe
School: Biola University
Department: Talbot School of Theolgy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religious education, Spirituality
Keywords: Christlikeness, Community, Perfection, Relationship, Small groups, Transformative learning
Publication Number: 10243650
ISBN: 978-1-369-37184-0
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