Today I turned in the third chapter of my thesis to my adviser. Beginning with August 1 I have been turning in a chapter a month. I was a few days late with the chapter due September 1. Unfortunately I was more than a few days late with the chapter due October 1.
The chapter turned in today was my review of the literature. Next up for me is a chapter that describes the research method used to determine if catechetical preaching can successfully be again a part of faith formation in a congregation.
I turned in on Monday evening my first draft of my thesis proposal. This proposal has sections in it that provide me an opportunity to demonstrate to my advisor that I do have a thesis worth completing.
State the Question
Method of Research
My working title is “Catechetical Preaching as Purposeful Piece of a Faith Formation Program in a Congregation.”
The catechism includes the six chief parts of the Christian faith: Ten Commandments, Apostles’ Creed, Lord’s Prayer, Baptism, Confession and Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. Martin Luther wrote explanations for this chief parts of the Christian faith using the question, “What does this mean?” The question of the Small Catechism invites conversation.
Catechesis in preaching proclaims the Word of God and it is not simply teaching the classroom lessons in the pulpit. The unique contribution of catechesis in preaching is to provide the listeners an opportunity to engage in a conversation between the Word of God and the world with the benefit of joining the conversation of the church with the Word.
The final morning of the second year of residency was spent with first getting a rental car to drive up north with the family. After the car was secured I then met with my adviser for one more time before leaving the campus. Professor Michael Rogness reminded to me to call upon those who have worked in the past on a similar topic. He meant actually call them up. Academic people love to know someone else is interested in the work that they have accomplished.
So I will be making some phone calls and I expect that those conversations will lead me to more resources.
The working title for my thesis right now is, “Catechetical preaching as a purposeful part of faith formation in a congregation.”
I will need to define Catechetical preaching and identify how effective preaching of this sort would make an impact in the faith formation in the congregation.
Kyle Small has recommended I use a success case method for effectively evaluating the change this kind of preaching can bring to a congregation. So I will need to focus my idea, develop an impact model, identify 4-6 successful preachers and possibly 1-2 struggling preachers, conduct qualitative interviews, gather my findings and make recommendations.
I think developing the impact model and identifying the preachers for the case study will be the most difficult part of the success case method.
Wednesday morning we heard a presentation by Peter Susgard from the Writing Center at Luther Seminary. It was wonderful to hear about the resources that Luther is providing to assist us in being successful. This program is intensive with the pace that we move towards thesis development. So I do not feel isolated in my work I am constantly finding different people in the program supportively holding my hand.
Throughout the day we heard sermons preached by members of the cohort. I preached a sermon from February about rebuilding the walls that have been knocked down. I appreciated the feedback from the group and found that the way I move from life story to the story of the Bible is often abrupt. I am going to work on how these transitions.
In the afternoon we talked about each chapter in a thesis and what forms a successful thesis proposal. We examined theses proposals from previous years to understand positives and deficiencies.
In the evening I enjoyed playing with Henry and Lucas. We went rowing on Como Lake with the boat that Grandpa Jim built for them. In the evening I also found myself struggling to balance the arrival of my family for the remainder of the week with the work I still need to do to prepare for the next day’s class.
Today was the first day of the last week for the year 2 residency for the Doctor of Ministry in Biblical Preaching program.
In the morning we talked about our experiences with our parish response group, writing the integrative paper for year 1 and thoughts we have swirling about our thesis topics.
In the afternoon we were scheduled for a one on one time with our thesis advisor. Professor Michael Rogness is a wonderful man to talk with about my topic. He has a desire for the integrity of doctrine and for effective preaching.
It was a good conversation and gave me assistance in thinking ahead about my thesis proposal.
In the evening I attended a boundary workshop that is required for graduation from Luther Seminary. I was pleasantly surprised that the conversation did not start with a bunch of “don’t do this.” The four hour workshop this evening spent most the of the time encouraging us to take care of ourselves and not expect our congregation to provide our esteem.
Tomorrow, Christi, Henry and Lucas fly here. I am excited.