Date of Award


Document Type

Major Applied Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Practical Theology

First Advisor

Arthur Bacon

Scripture References in this Resource

Isaiah 40:28-31; 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 2:2-3; 1 Peter 5:7; 2 Corinthians 4: 17; 2 Peter 4: 12-13; Acts 11:34-48; Ephesians 4:13; Galatians 2:20; Luke 18:13; Luke 22:53; Matthew 11:28-30; Matthew 16:24; Matthew 20:17-19; Matthew 26:75; Matthew 6:30; Matthew 8:10; Psalm 139:1-6; Romans 1:17; Romans 6:13


Christians need continuing education to develop their faith. Too often, youth and adult Christians complete confirmation instruction but fail to continue learning, fail to have a positive attitude about the necessity of Christian learning as a lifelong process, and even fail to understand that faith can indeed grow in strength and maturity or diminish and die.

This Doctor of Ministry research project is a test of the hypothesis that Christians who engage in self-directed reading of Christian literature are more likely to develop a more integrated, mature faith than those who do not engage in self-directed reading. The six key ideas relating to this hypothesis are:

1. Reading motivation and hindrances. The degree to which various life activities, information/entertainment sources, and values complement or compete with the habit of reading.

2. Influences on selection of reading material. The degree to which various marketing channels or sources of information about print resources influence the selection of reading materials.3. Type of reading materials. The degree to which various kinds of printed resources are read.

4. Reading of Christian best-sellers. The degree to which recent best-selling Christian books have been read.

5. Changes in reading habits. The degree to which changes in reading habits have taken place over the past three years.

6. Maturity of faith. The degree to which leaders exhibit a vibrant, life-transforming faith marked by both a personal faith relationship with Christ Jesus and a consistent devotion to serving others. This concept was measured by questions developed by the Search Institute of Minneapolis.

To accomplish this, a Faith and Reading Survey was conducted using a sample of 4,000 lay and professional church leaders in The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod Over 1,000 responses provided the data base for analysis. The survey findings may provide strong motivation for church leaders to encourage self-directed reading among all members of the denomination so that individual faith develops and so that the church is renewed in mission and ministry.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.