Date of Award

1-1-1974

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Interdenominational Theology Center (ITC)

Degree Name

D.Min.

Abstract

The purpose of the project was to encourage and increase the level of Christian Fellowship (Koinonia) and involvement in the Trinity African Episcopal Methodist Church, Atlanta. The church is situated in what was a transitional community. It is now approximately 98% black in the South West section of the city.

The project consisted of five (5) consecutive weeks of student input. It involved 24 - 42 members, divided into three (3) groups. Group A, the control group, attended the worship services and took the questionnaire. Group B, the target group, attended the worship services, attended the input sessions, and took the questionnaire. Group C, the super target group, participated in all of the above activities, in addition to engaging in encounter sessions with the student.

The worship services were the traditional order of worship of the A. M. E. Church with an emphasis on fellowship, i.e., the call to worship, the scriptures, the prayers, the hymns, and sermons. Five (5) sermons were preached focusing on the need for fellowship, what it is, and how it can be accomplished and maintained.

The input sessions were weekly, one to one hour and a half (1-1.1/2) sessions consisting of study sessions, discussions, group interaction, prayers, and the sharing of a repast. The encounter sessions with the student consisted of frank dialogue between the student and participants in Group C.

The overall hypothesis was that as a result of the worship and preaching services the participants would show an increase on all positive statements the questionnaire; and that Groups B and C would show more of a significant change than Group A, and Group C would show more of a significant change than either of the other two groups.

While there was some positive movement by all of the groups, there was not enough of significant changes to merit any real attention. This does not mean that the project was a failure. For in the ensuing months following the project there was an increase in persons joining the congregation, expressed appreciation for the church by members who participated in the project, increased attendance at most of the church functions, and a much better enthusiasm regarding the local church and the Church in general. For this I am grateful to the Lord.

The first-half of this final report consists of the writer's reflections on the Black Church as a unique religious institution; The calling to the Black church to address itself to the historical mission of the Black church and the mission of the Church; the writer's theory of ministry; and a survey of the meaning of Liberation and Koinonia from biblical, theological, and sociological perspectives. The second-half of the report focuses on the actual project involving the writer's understanding of liberation and Koinonia and an amalgamation of the two. Charts, graphs and tables have been inserted to aid the reader in ascertaining the mathematical breakdown of the growth-decline of the project participants. The final chapter focuses on the future aspects of the writer's ministry, goals for the church as well as for the writer.

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