The real-world ministry problem discussed in this dissertation is the decline of professional church workers in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and a proposed solution to address it. The problem is addressed through research and the proposed solution will include a curriculum of study for teaching would-be recruits that includes an experiential component and follow-up counseling with them.
Chapter 1 introduces the problem and which audiences the solution would target to address it. It also notes other stakeholders in the solution and the transformational objectives to which it would hope to contribute. Chapter 2 discusses the history of the problem in terms of the church’s attitudes to the role of the laity and clergy through time and the context of the problem as it relates to my church body both in the United States and Asia. Chapter 3 discusses how other authors have addressed the problem and highlights how they contribute to the solution offered here. Chapter 4 lays the biblical and theological basis for Christian vocation and calling of people into God’s service that
will figure in the proposed solution. In Chapter 5, research undertaken both in the United States and Asia is analyzed and discussed to both identify the problem and help direct the solution. Chapter 6 then discusses the desired outcome and Chapter 7 the proposed solution towards meeting that outcome, which is a course of study that includes both teaching a proper theology of vocation and work in the context of an experiential activity that creates the ‘disorienting dilemma,’ which is a key to the transformation of those involved in the training. Chapter 8 outlines those hopes and the steps needed to complete this undertaking.