The manifestation and complexity of human issues in the American society have changed dramatically over the past decade. Many of these changes are due to cultural, demographical, and socioeconomic dynamics. This significant change has had a devastating and dramatic impact on the church, resulting in a need for renewed and relevant approaches to ministry. Upon reflection, the change is due, in part, to the realities of those on the margins of life. Those people who are oppressed and relegated to the fringes of society are plagued with a myriad of human issues such as various addictions, afflictions, and abuses, which occur at an alarming and increased rate. The issues are also more complex and dynamic than ever. Practitioners and spiritual leaders in some ecclesial communities and faith organizations, who are responsible for working with the marginalized, utilize different approaches and practices. They are at times unable to provide the necessary interventions and resources that introduce and promote healing and wholeness to those most in need. Because of the varied nature of these issues, the question becomes: What are the tools and practices currently being used, and are these tools enough to meet the needs of the urban issues and demands for transformational leaders?
This dissertation project seeks to answer this question by providing a leadership enhancement tool sufficient to educate and create impactful practitioners and spiritual leaders. Intrinsic in the enhancement tools model is a paradigm that will encounter the issues of the marginalized and ostracized of society, and bring about restoration.
It is my believe belief that the overall mission of the church has in some ways been corroded. As a diaspora people, God’s focus has always been to restore health and heal wounds (Jer. 30:17). God in Jesus Christ has come that humankind may have abundant life, and leaders and practitioners must take seriously this mission in every aspect of ministry. The inspiration and impetus for this enhancement tool model is shaped through the restorative and transformative work with the Church of Mary Magdalene and my experiences of Christian ministry model in the country of India.
The purpose of this dissertation work is to explore the development of an enhancement tool by way of a restorative spirituality. The concepts and principles for this template will be captured in a variety of forms, to include narrative data from those currently working in ministry settings, those served and affected by such ministries and organizations, and leaders from traditional ecclesial settings. This dissertation will provide descriptions that will
1. examine the type of issues most common to the marginalized.
2. identify practical methods and approaches that are transformative and empowering in nature.
3. identify a practical enhancement tool for developing practitioners for working with the marginalized populations of our society.
Data was collected by way of structured interviews, post-interview reflections and feedback, and short case studies procured. All of the participants involved in the interviews and case studies are involved in urban setting environments, working with the marginalized population. Any proposed enhancement tool that addresses the ostracized of any society must be transformative in nature. The paradigm must address certain key critical principles and practices, which are necessary for a restorative spirituality enhancement tool. This template must include an ethos that represents values, principles, and skills of healing and wholeness that considers each person emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically.
Narrative analysis from case studies, literature, research, and interviews were used to develop approaches, methods, and processes in this leadership development model. Recommendations were made to enhance preparation and professional development of potential and current urban leaders and practitioners.