Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
W. David Phillips
Leonard I. Sweet
Societies and cultures are changing at an unprecedented pace. In this time of uncertainty, how does the Church continue to advance God’s kingdom and nurture fully mature disciples of Christ? This paper will show that global shifts demand a new type of Christian leader—Elder-at-the-Fire—who is able to apprentice others to a life of Missional Generativity. The so-called ‘proven’ forms of discipleship are becoming ineffective. People in the world are floundering to understand their purpose; many seek spiritual guides and self-help solutions in search of spiritual meaning. In biblical times and in ancient tribal traditions, elders provided spiritual wisdom for life’s journey. This project introduces the metaphor of Elder-at-the-Fire as a way to distinguish the special role Elders play when they become authentic agents of Missional Generativity through the power of the Spirit. The first section probes the effects of rapid societal changes on the Church’s ability to produce fully mature disciples that are both missional and generative. The second section identifies and examines current praxises for spiritual development and growth. Section three postulates the need for Elders-at-the-Fire and describes Missional Generativity as a distinguishing characteristic Elders should achieve to successfully apprentice disciples and promulgate the Kingdom. Finally, section four establishes the foundation for a proposed book by laying out the andragogic of developing Elders-at-the- Fire, the needed catalysts for implementing true Missional Generativity.
Harlow, Jo A., "Elder-At-The-Fire: Missional Generativity" (2016). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 131.