Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Ron Clark, DMin

Second Advisor

Pablo Morales, DMin

Third Advisor

Leonard I. Sweet, PhD


The purpose of this paper is to explore the phenomenon of Contextual Intelligence (CI) and suggest a Contextual Intelligence Framework (CIF) for its cultivation in local churches. This will be accomplished by learning from both practitioners of pioneer ministry and inherited congregations, as well as researching the literature. While possessing CI has been shown to be a critical competency for leaders across multiple fields, it is yet to be explored theologically or assessed for practical application ecclesiologically. Amid symptoms of decline, a new breed of leaders first identified by the Church of England as “pioneers,” are planting “fresh expressions of church” with “nones and dones.” These pioneers possess CI, which is the ability to accurately diagnose a context and make the correct decisions regarding what to do. Eighty-six congregations and eighty-one fresh expressions in the North Central District of the Florida Conference United Methodist Church are the primary sample for this field research.

Chapter One will explore the symptoms of decline, define challenges, and highlight the opportunity for CI cultivation. Chapter Two will explore the Biblical materials to establish a theological foundation for the CI framework. Chapter Three will explore three contextually intelligent movements in church history—specifically, the primitive church, early Methodism, and Fresh Expressions. Chapter Four will explore the concept of contextual intelligence across multiple fields. Chapter Five will examine the emerging missional frontier of the network society and the value of CI. Chapter Six integrates all learnings and outlines the CIF.

Included in

Christianity Commons