Welcome to Pastor Matt's Research Journal Page

This journal page (i.e. blog) is intended to be used as a venue of communication for Pastor Matt's Major Applied Research Project.  The Major Applied Research Project is a doctoral level project / thesis for Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.  

The title/theme of the research project is: Becoming Lutheran: Exploring the Journey of American Evangelicals Into Confessional Lutheran Thought

This journal will publicize Pastor Matt's progress, research and findings.  Each posting below will document the research and writing journey.  

The comprehensive Major Applied Research Project document will be periodically updated at the following link:  "Becoming Lutheran" Current Manuscript

Grace and Peace

view:  full / summary

Epistemology and Worldview Article

Posted on August 2, 2012 at 11:30 AM Comments comments ()

Earlier this week I spent some time writing a document titled, "Pastoral Care For Those Experiencing An Epistemological Crisis."  Portions of this document will serve as the foundation to the "theoretical perspective" portion of the Major Applied Research Document.  It is a wonderful read and very fun to consider how one's epistemology interacts with one's worldview.  

Project Proposal Document Nearing Completion

Posted on July 8, 2012 at 2:10 AM Comments comments ()

While I am waiting for my Candidacy acceptance (i.e. September) I have been working on the recommendations from Dr. Kolb on the project proposal document.  

At this point I am nearing completion of the project proposal document.  The project proposal document is the bird's eye view of the project.  You can click here to view the proposal. 

If accepted as a candidate, I will then be submitting the finalized project proposal to an evaluation committee.  The committe will either approve, modify or reject the proposal.  

Waiting For Candidacy

Posted on July 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM Comments comments ()

Here is a brief progress update.

I am officially elebigble to begin the dissertation process once I have achieved candidacy status in the Doctorate of Ministry Progrom at Concordia Seminary.  At this point I have submitted my candidacy application and will have to wait until September, when a committee reviews the application and makes their determination.  

The candidacy approval process is a screening process that Concordia Seminary has to evaluate students.  A committee reviews the student's application, visits with his professors and then makes a judgment call of whether or not the student can continue in their doctorate program.  

Upon approval (hopefully) by the committee I will then be able to submit my Major Applied Research Project proposal to another committee for approval.  The proposal will be presented to the committee and it will be either approved, rejected or modified.  Once the proposal is modified and/or accepted it is off to the races!  

Therefore, we are looking at candidacy acceptance in September and hopefully the research proposal being accepted sometime in October-November.  This means that research will officially begin this winter of 2012 and extend into the early portions of 2013.  

MAP Proposal Document In The Working

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM Comments comments ()

Every MAP (i.e. major applied project) needs to go through a screening process. In other words, the idea, process, etc.. for the MAP needs to be approved by a committee of Concordia Seminary before the research and writing may go forward.

I just finished my proposal draft and turned it in to Dr. Kolb, my advisor.  The MAP proposal is a bird eye view document that outlines the problem that will be addressed as well as the purpose and process of the research.  He has just returned some very helpful thoughts that will need to be addressed over the next several weeks.  After the corrections, additions and adjustments have been made I will need to get the document over to my proof reader, and then I can submit it to Concordia Seminary for approval.  My hope is to have it submitted by July/August so that I may begin my research this fall.  

Title, Problem Thesis & Purpose Thesis Have Been Developed

Posted on June 5, 2012 at 11:20 AM Comments comments ()
After several drafts and many conversations I have finally settled on a Title, Problem Thesis and a Purpose Thesis for the Major Applied Research Project (i.e. MAP).  They are:

Title: Becoming Lutheran: Exploring the Journey of American Evangelicals Into Confessional Lutheran Thought

Problem: The journey for American Evangelicals into Confessional Lutheranism thought is a long, difficult, and sometimes scary road. The shift from American Evangelicalism into Confessional Lutheranism is not something that just happens overnight, nor is it an easy shift. The shift has linguistic, emotional, worldview, and epistemological challenges that accompany it, thus producing a great deal of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty for the individual. This also presents a challenge for Lutheran pastors in knowing how to minister to parishioners coming out of American Evangelicalism into their parish.

Purpose: Purpose: The purpose of this Major Applied Project (MAP) is to learn about the linguistic challenges, emotional struggles, worldview changes, and epistemological shifts of American Evangelicals who have begun making this shift into Lutheran thought, as well as Evangelicals who have already made the shift. Furthermore, this MAP will attempt to identify patterns in the journey from Evangelicalism to Lutheranism. By diagnosing possible patterns and identifying common characteristics in the journey, I hope the findings will provide insights and comfort for those who are experiencing the journey. I also hope to glean from the study ways in which Lutheran pastors can more effectively care for and shepherd these individuals who are in the journey towards Lutheranism.

Thinking About My Own Journey

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 1:30 PM Comments comments ()
In thinking about the theme and topic of the Major Applied Research Project, I decided to chronicle my personal journey into Confessionalism.  I published both of the articles on my personal blog and another blog that I write for, "Brothers of John the Steadfast." 

These articles have been very helpful to me in formulating the Problem and Purpose Theses for the MAP.

Dr. Robert Kolb Has Agreed To Be My Advisor

Posted on January 11, 2012 at 10:10 AM Comments comments ()

Today I visited with Dr. Robert Kolb and he has agreed to be my advisor in this research adventure.  The following is a brief biography of Dr. Kolb taken from the Concordia Seminary Website.  

Dr. Robert Kolb was born and raised in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and attended Concordia College, St. Paul, Minn. (1959-1961); Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Ind. (1961-1963); and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. (1963-1968, M.Div., S.T.M.). After completing his doctorate in history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1973), he served as director of the Center for Reformation Research in St. Louis (1973-1977). Concordia College, St. Paul, called him in 1977 to teaching positions in the departments of religion and history; he also served as acting president (1989-1990). In 1993 Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, called him to be Missions Professor of systematic theology and director of the Institute for Mission Studies. From 1994 through 2010 he taught abroad, chiefly in post-Soviet Europe, for three months of the year.


Kolb served as associate editor (1973-1994) and co-editor (1995-1997) of The Sixteenth Century Journal and is still co-editor, with A.R. Victor Raj, of Missio Apostolica (since 1996). He was a member of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (1984-1992) and its chair (1990-1992). He served as president of the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference (1981-1982) and the Society for Reformation Research (1994-1996). Since 1993 he has been a member of the Continuation Committee of the International Congress for Luther Research.


Kolb has lectured at more than 40 educational institutions on five continents and at many ecclesiastical gatherings. Since 1996 he has been Gastdozent at the Lutherische Theologische Hochschule in Oberursel, Germany.


Valparaiso University (2000), Concordia University Saint Paul (2005), and Concordia University Irvine (2008) have awarded him the Doctor of Letters honorary degree.

What Is A Major Applied Research Project?

Posted on January 10, 2012 at 9:45 AM Comments comments ()

As evident in the above statement, a key element of the D.Min. program is the Major Applied Project (MAP). The ATS explicitly states with respect to the MAP:

The program shall include the design and completion of a written doctoral-level project that addresses both the nature and the practice of ministry. The project should be of sufficient quality that it contributes to the practice of ministry as judged by professional standards and has the potential for application in other contexts of ministry.

The ministry project should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to identify a specific theological topic in ministry, organize an effective research model, use appropriate resources, and evaluate the results, and should reflect the candidate’s depth of theological insight in relation to ministry.

Upon completion of the doctoral project, there shall be an oral presentation and evaluation. The completed written project, with any supplemental material, should be accessioned in the institution’s library.

It is helpful to think of the MAP as an experiment in ministry. It is carried out in an individual's context of ministry and the final documents and oral examination describe what is done and what the results were so that others might learn from the experiment. Thus, the MAP is a key measure and significant demonstration of the learner's competence as practiced in his context of ministry. The completion of the MAP signifies that the learner is sensitive both to the theory and practice of ministry. A written document and an oral presentation constitute the basis for evaluating the achievement of this key measure.

In summary, the D.Min. student ordinarily completes his formal course of study in the program with the MAP. It is anticipated that the goals the learner will achieve through his project are to:


1. demonstrate a higher level of understanding of ministry and its context;

2. develop a higher level of theological competence in ministry;


1. appreciate the theological context in which ministry is practiced;

2. increase feeling for the impact of learning on ministry with the parish;

3. deepen awareness of the need for personal and pastoral formation;


1. implement a theology for ministry into the practice of ministry; and

2. study individually a specific topic of interest under the guidance of an advisor.

The previous material was taken from the MAJOR APPLIED PROJECT MANUAL AND PROCESS GUIDE from Concordia Seminary St. Louis.