Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Leonard I. Sweet
Christian culture within the United States has been experiencing phenomenal change related to shifts in the larger U.S. culture, as well as shifts taking place in the Church. As such, five sets of research questions were presented in this phenomenological study. These consisted of - What is the current state of the Church? Is the Church divided doctrinally, theologically, and in areas regarding polity? If so, what is causing this division? What are the primary causes of the decline in membership currently being experienced by the United Methodist Church? What are the greatest challenges facing the Church? What are the United Methodist Church's strengths, and how can the Church build on these strengths for the future of the denomination? These questions have all been answered in detail. The main problems found within the United Methodist Church today are a dramatic decline in numbers, issues concerning apportionments - how and where they are being used, and a general lack of accountability among the central agencies of the Church. The interviews and examination of the research in this qualitative study have also outlined leadership and structural models that are lacking, fewer numbers of pastors, and seminaries that are out of touch with what is taking place within the Church. The institutional division, loss of mission, and the role of evangelism need to be addressed. Using the example set by the Emerging Church Movement, and by returning to the core teachings of John Wesley, the United Methodist Church has the opportunity to create vital congregations where true missionary works and effective evangelism can take place within the wider communities in which the church is part.
Ray, Jody Glenn, "The United Methodist Church and the Willingness to Embrace Change: Attracting Members of the Emerging Generation and a Return to Vitality" (2015). Doctor of Ministry. 115.