Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Terry Nyhuis, DMin

Second Advisor

Mary Pandiani, DMin

Third Advisor

Terry Nyhuis, DMin


This dissertation explores the establishing of a wisdom monastic community to nurture disciples living into the Second Half of Life. A critical problem facing mainline churches today is the increasing number of US-American adults describing themselves as “spiritual, but not religious.” In 2012, a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life documented that 20 percent of the adults in the United States classify themselves as religiously unaffiliated. Adding to this population are longtime, faithful lay leaders announcing they are “done” with church. Recent research suggests that a growing number of these adults leave congregations that have nurtured their faith through the First Half of Life because churches are ill equipped to offer spiritual nurture for the Second Half of Life. In this dissertation, the researcher explores whether a local spiritual community can effectively nurture the continuing spiritual growth of people living in the Second Half of the Life by establishing a wisdom monastic community. Section One addresses the problems both churches and believers are facing through an exploration of the spiritual needs of those moving in the Second Half of Life. Section Two identifies and evaluates alternative solutions to the ministry problem of continued spiritual nurture for Second Half of Life pilgrims. Section Three introduces A Rhythm, Ritual and Rule for a Wisdom Monasticism tailored for pilgrims in the Second Half of Life. Section Four posits an artifact description of the Rhythm, Ritual and Rule of a Wisdom Monastic Community, including the survey summary, questions conducted to find Second Half of Life Pilgrims and transcripts of interviews with Second Half of Life Pilgrims. Section Five offers the artifact specification. The Final Section offers a x postscript, providing suggestions for further research. The artifact concludes the dissertation.

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Christianity Commons