Journal of Christian Ministry | 2024: DMin Research Notes

2024: DMin Research Notes

2024: DMin Research Notes

DMin Research Notes are brief descriptions of research conducted by DMin faculty or students that will inform our community of current research taking place in DMin programs. DMin Research Notes prioritize research by DMin students and research related to DMin programs but any research relevant to Christian ministry will be considered. Please consider submitting a DMin Research Note and making your best DMin students aware of this opportunity to publicize their work.

The DMin Research Note Template is displayed in the following examples. Questions about DMin Research Notes can be addressed to the JCM Research Note Editor: Dr. Mark Chapman (


Current DMin Research

Title: The Impact of Studying Abroad on the Intercultural Spiritual Formation of Harding University Latin America Students

 Author: Jeremy Daggett

Institutional Affiliation: Harding University and Harding School of Theology

Contact Information:

Keywords: intercultural formation, spiritual formation, travel, humanities, diversity, missional living, culture, Peru

Description of the Research:

This DMin dissertation project was about travel as a spiritual practice. There is an intercultural component of spiritual formation wherein the Spirit of God works to form students as they interact with a place, a people, and their history and culture. This is based on a theology of travel in God’s diverse world.

The participants in this qualitative study were the thirty students who made up the Harding University Latin America (HULA) group, based in Arequipa, Peru in the spring semester of 2023. HULA is a three-month program, designed as part of the liberal arts curriculum at Harding University with the goal of enriching a student’s education with intercultural awareness and spiritual growth through interacting with God’s complex world. The ministry intervention was based on three main components: a Latin American Humanities course, a Bible course, and cross-cultural learning experiences.

This program aimed for intercultural spiritual formation, which is the growth humans experience through an increased awareness of God and the diversity of God’s world that results in an increased disposition to love God and love other humans. I chose six indicators for growth in intercultural spiritual formation: spiritual sight, cultural sight, empathy, openness, curiosity, and missional living. To assess growth and identify key contributors, I implemented a Pre-HULA and Post-HULA questionnaire, combining Likert Scale items and open-ended questions. I conducted a coding analysis on the questionnaire results as well as student essays.

The findings indicated that participation in the HULA program helped shift students’ understanding of the nature of God and the world to include diversity. It helped evolve students’ understanding of the nature of spirituality to see the presence of God in their neighbor. Finally, HULA helped develop students’ orientation of missional living toward loving their diverse neighbor more deeply.

Sources for Further Exploration:

This dissertation lives here:

See also:

Rohr, Richard. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer. New York: Crossroad, 2003.

Sacks, Jonathan. The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations. London: Continuum, 2002.

Taylor, Barbara Brown. An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith. New York: HarperOne, 2009.

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Title: Putting God’s Hospitality Into Practice: A Model for Neighborhood Outreach Through an Incarnational Presence

 Author: The Rev. Kathy E. Hulin DMin

Institutional Affiliation: Trinity School for Ministry

Contact Information: The Rev. Dr. Jack Gabig, Trinity School for Ministry

Keywords: hospitality, incarnation, neighborhood, outreach

Description of the Research:

The genesis of this research came through an ethnographic exercise in December 2021 in Lakeland, FL. In addition to personal observations of the physical structures and foot traffic around the church, interviews with two individuals inside and one outside the local parish ministry took place, to gain perspective on what they observed. A ministry challenge emerged from the ethnography: a season of newfound business, residential, and cultural change was at the doorstep of the parish, therefore the ministry of the church should consider new ways of engagement to meet and be known among the influx of people in the neighborhood.

The research continued through one-one-one interviews with 12 church members and 4 business leaders to include the city mayor. The mayor identified downtown population growth from 1,100 to 8,500 people by 2030.

To address the ministry challenge, one new approach to neighborhood engagement emerging out of the research was to involve parishioners in activities that exposed them to people in the neighborhood of the church. Opportunities such as prayer walks and hospitality outreach during a long-lived annual city event in the neighborhood gave parishioners the opportunity to do their own ethnographic observation of the socioeconomic and physical changes around the church. In addition to observations, parishioners had conversations with people they encountered to both take interest in a neighbor and to be available for sharing Christ through prayer, testimony, invitation, or exhortation. Church tours and a car show were offered as an aspect of the hospitality for inviting neighbors onto the church property.

A secondary approach to addressing the ministry challenge was to present adult education classes for the parish on practical applications of an incarnational presence in the community. Teachings by Anglican theologian Sam Wells on being with others and expressions of hospitality anchored the theology being put into practice in the community. The intention was for God’s love, light, and grace to flow through parishioners as they were present and listening to people in the neighborhood in evidence of God’s hospitality to all.

Clergy and laity who are following through with one or both of these approaches are finding an alertness to God doing something in and through them in the neighborhood. They are testifying in public of their experiences of God’s hospitality while spending time with others.

Next steps are to establish a regular missional practice for parishioners to be in the neighborhood on a monthly basis and to continue with adult education to equip the parish toward engagement of strangers through hospitality outreach.

Sources for Further Exploration:

Sam Wells, Incarnational Mission:Being with the World (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2018).