Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

William Westfall

Second Advisor

Charles Conniry


This dissertation addresses the cultivation of a theocentric model of vision discernment that is spiritually formative for evangelical churches. This author will make the case that contemporary evangelical models of vision development possess an anthropocentric orientation that is individualistic, future-focused, and derived from business practices, thus subverting the spiritual formation of congregations. How then can congregational vision be shaped in a way that is spiritually formative for the faith community as a whole? This writer will posit that congregational spirituality will increase through the adoption of a theocentric model of vision discernment.

Chapter One sets the direction of the dissertation by carefully examining the problem of anthropocentrism in Christian leadership discussions concerning vision development. The author will also discuss the objections to discernment and provide clarifications.

Chapter Two provides the biblical foundation for a theocentric model of vision discernment. To this end, the chapter will attempt to identify the vision of God and how it was discerned within the Scriptural narrative.

Chapter Three describes the theological concept that supports a theocentric model, the chief concept being the social Trinity and its implications for the church as a Trinitarian ecclesiology.

Chapter Four considers the discernment models used for clarifying the leading of God for individuals and congregations within the Ignatian and Friends (Quaker) traditions. This chapter draws principles from these traditions for the final proposed

Chapter Five reflects on the contributions of missional theologians. This chapter is pivotal in providing a contextual understanding as to how congregations can corporately discern vision in a way that maintains theological integrity while promoting Christian spirituality.

Chapter Six synthesizes the material and proposes a final model.

Included in

Christianity Commons