Baptist Churches struggling with declining worship attendance due to an insistence on traditional worship services
Audrey L. Fleming (Church Leadership Excellence Track F)
1. What condition will your project address?
So many Baptist churches in the Richmond, VA area, including my church, Jerusalem Baptist Church are struggling with declining worship attendance due to an insistence on traditional worship services. It has been noted that the churches that are seeing growth are those that are engaging in contemporary or both traditional and contemporary worship services that appeases both the older and younger congregants. My church is one of the churches that are struggling with declining worship attendance due to an insistence on traditional worship services. As Director over the Ministry of Music at Jerusalem Baptist Church, my goal is to seek ways to move the church’s traditional worship to blended worship services (traditional and contemporary) to be more uniformed with the churches that are seeing growth in their average worship attendance.
2. What intervention are you proposing to address this condition?
I will establish a team of musicians, choir members and others at Jerusalem Baptist Church, Richmond to give input to the Pastor, Associate Minister, the Board of Directors and all interested parties on moving from traditional to blended worship services to produce growth of average worship attendance (AWA). The Minister of Music, the Worship Leader(s) and I will begin with a bit of education about worship. The team will brainstorm about themes, drama, art, dance and so on. I will advocate to the pastor and the congregation for the group who would prefer blended worship services. With the pastor’s blessings we will move forward with a trial blended worship service in April 2015. If all goes well with the trial we will move forward with blended worship in May 2015.
3. What tools will you use to generate data before, during, and after your intervention?
(a) The Minister of Music, the Worship Leader and I will attend several other churches with blended worship services, observe their services and talk to their leaders about the steps and successes they experienced in transitioning from traditional to blended services. (Observations- Sensing ID 93-99)
(b) Explore how the worship preparation/rehearsals will look different after the change. (Sampling ID 82-83)
(c) The Minister of Music, the Worship Leader and I will attend lectures and seminars that is run by other Minister of Music and Musicians (Interviews ID 102-113)
(d) Help Minister of Music, Worship Leader(s) and Musicians pick songs for the choir(s) that are theology base. (Presenting A Case ID 153-156)
(e) Method: Sensing, Chapter 6 “Taking Note”, Setting, People, Activities and Sound, p. 182 and Initial Observation, p. 188.
4. What is the theological component of your project and how does it relate to your project?
I will study the use of hymns in the New Testament Church which are given in such text as Ephesians 5:19, Philippians 2:6-11, Colossians 3:16-17 with help of scholars such as, Larry Hurtado, Jack Saunders, Martin Hengel and others.
5. What is your project question?
What ways and means can I use to help Baptist churches in the Richmond, VA area including Jerusalem Baptist Church to transition from traditional to contemporary worship service(s).
6. What permissions must be secured for this project to happen?
I will need to secure written or oral permission from the Pastors, Ministers of Music and any churches that will be interviewed.
7. What informed consent issues are related to your project and how will you address them?
There are no secured permissions that I need for this project to happen.
8. What due dates are related to your anticipated year of graduation in May?
March 9, 2015 DMin project proposals approved by DMin Committee
October 15, 2015 Biblical/theological chapter to Reader
December 31, 2015 All course work completed and all project work completed
January 15, 2016 Full draft of project paper to DMin Office and Reader
February 15, 2016 Reader response to full draft (revise until it meets Reader’s expectations)
March 1, 2016 Last day to withdraw from graduation
March 1-30, 2016 Public demonstration of DMin Project
April 1, 2016 Final version of project paper to DMin Office
9. Requested Reader?
Dr. Eileen Guenther
10. Preliminary Best Practices Bibliography
Walrath, Brian D. & Woods, Robert H., Jr. The Message in the Music: Studying Contemporary Praise and Worship. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007
Webber, Robert E. Renew Your Worship: A Study in Blending of Traditional and
Contemporary Worship. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishing, 1997
Langford, Andy. Transitions in Worship: Moving from Traditional to Contemporary.
Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007
Frame, John M. Contemporary Worship Music: A Biblical Defense. Phillipsburg: P& R
Dawn, Marva J. Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for This
Urgent Time. Grand Rapids: Wm. E. Eerdmans Publishing, 1995
Wright, Timothy K. Contemporary Worship: A Source book for Spirited, Traditional,
Praise and Seeker Services. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997
Bastard, Ned. It Was Good: Making Music to The Glory of God. Baltimore: Square Halo
Whitcomb, David, Sr. & Ward, Mark. True Worship: Traditional, Contemporary,
Biblical. Greenville: Ambassador-Emerald International, 2004
Kauflin, Bob & Baloche. Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness
Of God. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008
11. Preliminary Theological Component Bibliography
Karris, Robert J. OFM. A Symphony of New Testament Hymns. Collegeville: Liturgical
Press, Annotated edition, 1996
Hurtado, Larry W. Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. Grand
Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005
Hengel, Mark. Studies in the Gospel of Mark. Minneapolis: Fortress Printing, 1985
Benson, Louis F. The Hymnody of the Christian Church. Louisville: John Knox Press,
Old, Hughes Oliphant. Worship, Revised and Expanded Edition: Reformed According to
Scripture. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2002
Craddock, Fred B. & Boring, Eugene. The New Interpreter’s Bible New Testament
Survey. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006
Hicks, John Mark. 1 &2 Chronicles (The College Press NIV Commentary. Old Testament Series). Joplin: The College Press Publishing. 2010
Bickel, Bruce & Jantz, Stan. Philippians/Colossians: Experiencing the Joy of Knowing Christ. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2004
Pascuzzi, Maria A. CSJ. First & Second Corinthians: Volume 7 (New Collegville Bible Commentary: New Testament. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2005.
1. What theological subjects, debates, or texts give weight or seriousness to your project question?
2. What are the major theological assumptions standing behind the argument of your project paper that should be made explicit?
3. Where does your case study, ministry issue, or ministry tool intersect with contemporary issues of ecclesiology?
4. At what point might your project become the empirical data for some question in contemporary theology, especially ecclesiology?
5. What are the most important theological names, schools, books, articles, ideas, and issues related to your question? (Do the best you can; your faculty reader will help)
6. Pretend you are done with your project and graduated! You have been invited to go to a group and speak about your project. You are to open with a Bible study that will help the group receive what you are about to offer. What is that Bible study about?
Wesley Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry Project Paper
Guidelines for Pagination
All information is available in: (we will update to the 8th edition soon)
Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago
Style for Students and Researchers. Chicago guides to writing, editing, and publishing.
7th ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007.
Format requirements start on page 373
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