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The goal of this study is to explore how contemplative silence can be used to facilitate spiritual growth among Mandarin speakers at the Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary. It is argued that these inward practices of spiritual disciplines are reproducible, and can lead to spiritual growth on personal and communal levels when introduced in a context sensitive and creative manner. The thesis is tested on student groups that have at least thirty-two hours of spiritual formation class time.

The ministry context is initially examined and includes the Baptist tradition and the worldview of Mandarin speakers. The importance of community in the believer’s journey to be more like Jesus is revealed in a theological reflection on the nature of God as Trinity. A biblical mandate from an examination of Scripture and the life of Christ establishes the use of silence in Christian formation. Similarly, the insights of both ancient and modern-day practitioners contribute to the project design.

To test this hypothesis, silence is introduced using disciplines such as Lectio Divina, solitude, contemplation in nature, spiritual autobiography, and spiritual journaling. To fulfill the goal of the project, students are supervised in spiritual direction sessions while surveys and personal interviews are carried out to gain feedback. On completion of the project, an analysis is done to ascertain impact of contemplative practices on students.

This study concludes practice of contemplative silence as individuals and as a group does bring about an increase in spiritual growth among Mandarin-speaking students. Moreover, these practices are reproducible and applicable in the student’s context. However, due to unpredictable size and heterogeneous profile of each group, these results require additional study before a definite conclusion can be made. While further research is needed, this project can still benefit Mandarin speakers in a seminary or a small group setting.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Cindy S. Lee

Document Type





Contemplative silence, Malaysia, Mandarin speakers, Baptist Seminary, Christian Formation, Spiritual growth


Christianity | Practical Theology


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