Friday, January 5, 2007

Thesis Work for Master of Arts in Christian Education Leadership

Today I would like to begin with the process of publishing my thesis entitled: WORSHIPPING GOD: GODLY PLAY JOINED WITH INTENTIONAL INTERGENERATIONAL MINISTRY AND THE ENSUING ARCHITECTURAL IMPLICATIONS. This was A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Mn., in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts. My Thesis Advisor was MARY E. HESS, PhD.

Here is the format of the work:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
PREFACE
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Chapter
1. INTRODUCTION.

2. A THEOLOGICAL MODEL: UNITY OF WORSHIP AND EDUCATION.
3. THE MISSION: TO WORSHIP GOD.
4. THE VISION: INTENTIONAL INTERGENERATIONAL MINISTRY.

5. THE MEANS: WORSHIP DISCIPLESHIP.
6. THE METHOD: GODLY PLAY WORSHIP EDUCATION.
7. THE FORMGIVER: ARCHITECTURAL THEOLOGY.
8. THE FORM: ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN CONCEPTS.
9. CONCLUSION: THE INTENTIONAL CHURCH.
GLOSSARY

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Acknowledgements: For perceiving my gifts and supporting me when I was
a young woman, I’d like to honor Dan & Dee O’Neill and Royal & Ruth Irving.
For encouraging me while I was a seminary student, I’d like to thank Dick & Ann Fitch and Mary Anne Greco and her family.
And for guiding me in my thesis studies I give my appreciation to Professor Mary E. Hess and Professor Mons A. Teig Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Preface:
In the postmodern culture of the United States today, “[t]here is no overarching meaning to life, only episodes, and therefore meaninglessness has become the primal sickness of society. There is no sense of community among a people so physically and socially mobile and therefore loneliness has become the primal symptom of society.”[1]
For American congregations to respond appropriately to this condition among themselves and their contextual community, they need to provide people with an overarching mission and an organizing vision that answers the primal call of God to God’s people. Worship is the source of a relationship with God, and fellowship is the movement of the Holy Spirit among God’s community. Therefore, that call is a call to an overarching congregational mission of worship, and an organizing congregational vision of fellowship.
In order to accomplish an overarching mission, the congregation needs to address its two main foci, worship and education. The aims of these foci must to come into agreement if the mission is to go forth, and a vehicle for the realization of the organizing vision of fellowship needs to be developed if the mission is to be implemented. This paper suggests “worship discipleship,” or the teaching of worship through the educational method of Godly Play, combined with Intentional Intergenerational Ministry, and its teaching paradigm, Intergenerational Religious Education, answers the needs of contemporary American congregational ministry.
Godly Play is the teaching of sacred story, parables, liturgical action, and contemplative play, so that God is disclosed to the disciple of worship. This disclosure allows the disciple to “cope and transcend the existential issues…[of]…death, aloneness, the threat of freedom…[and]…the need for meaning”[2] that permeate American postmodern culture. Intentional Intergenerational Ministry is a fellowship paradigm that deliberately produces a melting pot of generations within the social fabric of a congregation, fulfilling the postmodern need for community and the congregation’s need for spiritual balance. Intergenerational Religious Education is the teaching of a single curriculum, in this case the Godly Play curriculum, to the whole congregation in both homogeneous and intergenerational groups so that all the generations mentor and learn from each other, enriching each other’s lives.
When a congregation prioritizes and reorganizes themselves in this way, one result is the theology of the architectural paradigm of the typical church building needs to be reevaluated. With the full integration of the congregation’s mission and vision, the usual distinctiveness of the building form for the large communal worship gathering, and the generally awkwardly attached, low-slung, boxy form of the educational wing, cannot express the melding of worship and education into worship discipleship. A different approach to church building design needs to be found. This paper suggests that the theology of space in the one-room concepts of Lutheran architect Ed Sovik, and religious educator the Reverend Jerome W. Berryman, are fertile ideas for manifesting a united building form based on architectural theology.
The joining of Godly Play, Intentional Intergenerational Ministry, Intergenerational Religious Education, and its resulting architectural theology, creates what I call the “intentional church.” This is a church whose mission of worship, vision of fellowship, religious language curriculum, and theologically based architecture stand in deliberate and strategically planned harmony with one another. The ensuing architectural design concepts are carried through generations of people, and are focused on serving the presentation of the gospel to contemporary American culture by implementing the congregation’s response to the primal call of God to worship God, and to communion among the saints. In this way, a new design concept for church architecture, or a theology of building form, is made available to the architect, and hence to the congregation for the spread of the gospel.
[1] William J. Bausch, S.J., Storytelling the Word (Mystic, CT.: Twenty-Third Publications, 1998) 2.
[2] Sonja M. Stewart and Jerome W. Berryman, Young Children and Worship (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1989) 7, 8.

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