MISSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS: USING PREACHING AND SMALL GROUP REFLECTION AS A MECHANISM TO EXPAND MISSIONAL THEOLOGY AND BUILD MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIPS IN THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF ORANGEBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA
ABSTRACT KRISTOPHER DANIEL AARON MISSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS: USING PREACHING AND SMALL GROUP RE-FLECTION AS A MECHANISM TO EXPAND MISSIONAL THEOLOGY AND BUILD MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIPS IN THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF ORANGEBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA Under the direction of ROBERT N. NASH, Ph.D., Supervisor The congregants of First Baptist Church, Orangeburg, South Carolina, are like many in churches across the United States. While they believe in the importance of local mission efforts, they view their work primarily as charity to a different group in their com-munity. For more robust and effective efforts, however, the minister must encourage his or her congregation to develop relationships with those they serve. This project explores the importance of relationships in mission. The goal was for those who volunteer in the soup kitchen to develop mutually beneficial relationships with those they serve, to understand their efforts as more than just charity, and to view their efforts as ministering with people in their own community rather than ministering to people in a different community. This project is a qualitative study that combines interviews, small group reflection sessions, and sermons to expand the congregation’s view of the importance of relationships in mission. Interviews were held before and after the sermon series with church member volunteers. Group interviews were also held with non-member clients. In addition to inter-views, small group sessions with corresponding activities were held following the sermons for volunteers. Finally, after all the interviews and sessions, preliminary results were shared with volunteers. Participant responses indicate that they do understand the importance of relation-ships in mission. Participants also indicate that they view their efforts as more than charity and that they appreciate the need to empower those they serve if they hope to serve along-side them. Further study is needed to see how these changes to empower clients are implemented and how it affects the health and vitality of the ministry.
Aaron, Kristopher Daniel