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Appendix A


June 26, 2006

Dear brethren,

        During my time preaching for the church in Alum Creek, I have been attending doctoral classes at Southern Christian University, a brotherhood graduate school.  I am currently writing a dissertation entitled Shepherding Wandering Sheep: An Examination of Elders’ Attitudes Regarding Inactive Christians.  The dissertation involves interviewing elders in Kanawha and Lincoln Counties concerning their view of inactive brethren.  I hope this work leads to the development of seminars or a book to help elders work with inactive Christians.

        I am writing to ask your help in this study.  Specifically, I am asking that you consent to three ninety-minute interviews concerning inactive Christians.  If you can help me, please complete the demographic questionnaire and the informed consent form and return them to me in the self-addressed stamped envelope.  Any information you give me will remain strictly confidential and will be revealed to no one.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

        I look forward to meeting with you.

        In Christ,

        Justin Imel

Appendix B


Doctoral Program

Informed Consent for participation in the Shepherding Wandering Sheep Study, a research project being conducted by Justin Imel.

        Justin Imel is a doctoral student in Ministry at Southern Christian University in Montgomery, Alabama. The purpose of this study is to explore the attitudes of elders in churches of Christ regarding inactive Christians.  Participation is voluntary.

        Your participation will consist of three ninety-minute interviews with the researcher.  The interviews shall be taped and transcribed by the researcher himself.  At the conclusion of the study, all tapes and transcripts shall be destroyed.  Your cooperation in answering the interview questions will be a tremendous asset to the study.

        All answers given in relation to questions will remain strictly confidential and will be disclosed to no one.   If you give your permission by signing this document, what is learned will be in a dissertation written by this researcher without your name attached.

        Your decision whether or not to participate will not jeopardize your future relations with this researcher.  Further, you may discontinue participation at any time.  If you decide later to withdraw from the study, you may also withdraw any information that has been collected from you or about you.

        If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Justin Imel at 389-9997 (cell),, or PO Box 24, Alum Creek, WV  25003.


_______________________________                                                        _______________________________
Participant’s signature      Date                                                                        Researcher’s signature      Date

Appendix C

Interview Guide for First Part of Interview

1.    Tell me a little bit about your religious background.
a.    In what group were you raised as a child?
b.    How often a week did you attend church services?
c.    What recollections do you have about the leaders in that group?
-    What did you like about those leaders?  What did you dislike about those leaders?
-    What type of spiritual leadership did those leaders exhibit?
-    What did those leaders do to retain members?  What did those leaders do to recover lost members?
d.    How did that group react to members who fell away?

2.    Tell me a little bit about how you became a member of the churches of Christ.
a.    Who influenced you to become a member?
b.    What do you recall about your baptism?
c.    How often did you attend services after becoming a member of the  churches of Christ?

3.    Tell me about a time you might have considered yourself an inactive member.
a.    Who from the church contacted you about your inactivity?
b.    When did you return to active service?
c.    What did you like about the recovery process?  What did you not like about the recovery process?   

4.    Tell me a little bit about how you became an elder.
a.    When did you believe you fit the qualifications outlined in the New Testament?
b.    How did the congregation go about installing you as an elder?

Interview Guide for Second Part of Interview

1.    Tell me a little bit about the congregation where you currently serve.
a.    How many members worship with the congregation?
b.    How active is the typical member?
c.    How many people do you typically baptize a year? 
-    How do you seek to incorporate those new members into the congregation?
-    How many of those members fall away shortly after their baptism?
d.    How many inactive members would you estimate are members of the congregation where you serve?

2.    Tell me a little bit about how the congregation where you serve deals with inactive Christians.
a.    Who visits with the inactive member?
b.    How long does the congregation wait until you visit the inactive member?
c.    What programs do you have in place to work with inactive Christians?

3.    When you hear the phrase “inactive Christian” what do you think of?
a.    What do you believe causes many Christians to become inactive?
b.    Why do you think many Christians seem to ignore their inactive brethren?

4.    Tell me a little bit about the last encounter you had with an inactive member.
a.    How did that go?
b.    How did the member react when you contacted him/her?
c.    What did the member give as a reason for his/her inactivity?
d.    How did you feel as you left the inactive member?

5.    What have you learned from working with inactive Christians?

6.    What do you think is the best way of going about working with inactive Christians?

7.    What fears do you have about working with inactive Christians?

8.    What role do you believe an elder should take in working with inactive Christians?

Interview Guide for Third Part of Interview

1.    We’ve talked a good deal about inactive Christians in the past few minutes.  What have you learned by going through this process?

2.    What would you like to change about the way you’ve worked with inactive Christians in the past?

3.    How would you like to work with inactive Christians in the future?

4.    What else would you like to add? Copyright © Dr. Justin Imel