Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evaluating a spiritual formation course for emerging adult worship artists at Christ Church
by Ireland, Marlinda K., D.Min., Nyack College, Alliance Theological Seminary, 2015, 167; 10189151
Abstract (Summary)

The harried nature of our society and contemporary church culture tends to prescribe that, for Christian artists, preparation for worship ministry occurs mostly during the hours immediately before Sunday service. While this practice demands a measure of technical, artistic or musical proficiency, it does not adequately prepare local church worship leaders and arts ministers to touch the deeper spiritual needs of the congregation. In addition, such short-termed preparation fails to promote spiritual growth towards Christian maturity. Neither does last minute preparation create spiritual stability within the life of the artist and arts ministries. A survey of Jesus’ ministry preparation habits indicates that he spent a significant amount of time preparing for ministry. However, his preparation was a patterned lifestyle. The opposite is true for most people in ministry today—including church musicians, worship leaders, worship team members and media volunteers.

The aforementioned challenge is particularly potent for emerging adults—people between the ages of 18 and 34. Cultural shifts impacting their definition of Christian spirituality threaten to distort the purpose and meaning of worship ministry in the church. Emerging adults are tomorrow’s leaders. Consequently, forward-looking pastors, worship pastors and worship directors are hungry for answers to the question, “How can we prepare the next generation of spiritual front-runners to lead transformational worship in the church?”

The purpose of this applied research project is the evaluation of a 28-day course designed to spiritually prepare emerging adult worship artists for transformational ministry. Drawing on existing research regarding emerging adult spiritual formation, this study hypothesized that as a result of this intervention, the participants would experience four types of enhancement: In awareness of God and daily spiritual experiences with God; In the knowledge of how God uses the disciplines in one’s ministry preparation; In effectively using spiritual disciplines in personal worship ministry preparation; In contextual understanding of how one’s spiritual preparation interacts with and impacts the community (the congregation).

Participants met with the researcher for group coaching, once a week. These ninety-minute sessions were held during weekly worship rehearsals. The participants practiced spiritual formation homework assignments, incorporating fasting and prayer, silence and solitude and study and worship with a focus on ministry preparation during the other six days. The methodology for this course was a mixed approach since neither quantitative nor qualitative methods alone could adequately test the participants and the spiritual impact of the course. Self-reporting forms were created so that the participants could record their thoughts and use of the disciplines. These documents were emailed or handed in to the researcher at weekly meetings. Pretesting, homework, focus group data and post testing documents were statically analyzed or content analyzed. The findings were used to evaluate the course and its hypotheses.

The results of the analyses answered this research project’s primary question in the affirmative. However, the degree of enhancement and kinds of enhancement varied based upon the participants’ individual role in ministry and application of the teachings. Twelve of the fourteen participants experienced some degree of an enhanced awareness of God’s presence, enhanced knowledge of the spiritual disciplines as tools for worship ministry preparation, the effective use of the spiritual disciplines for transformational ministry preparation and an enhanced appreciation for the role artists play in meeting the spiritual needs of the congregation through worship.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: King, Paul, Dale, Jan
School: Nyack College, Alliance Theological Seminary
Department: Christiian Leadership
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 78/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Social research, Spirituality
Keywords: Emerging adults, Spiritual formation, Worship artists
Publication Number: 10189151
ISBN: 9781369429640
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