Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Phil Carnes, DMin
David McDonald, DMin
Leonard I. Sweet, PhD
Advancements in communication technology, particularly since the Internet Age, have impacted culture in several fundamental ways. Cognitive and psychological changes have changed how people seek and understand knowledge. The development of horizontal networks made of both space of places, physical locations, and space of flows, Internet locations,1 has reshaped academic, social, and political spheres. The rise in entertainment to transfer information has shifted society’s focus to one of experience and service in everyday life. These changes have impacted the institutional church through a reduction of individuals self-identifying as Christian and in behaviors traditionally considered Christian.
In response, the church has the opportunity to redefine how the church builds daily community through horizontal networks informed by an understanding of missional ecclesiology. By applying the lessons learned from multimodality and higher education, decentralized social movements, and habit-forming software development, a collaborative extension of the church can be developed. An outward focused extension shifts from a top down, organized structure to a bottom up, decentralized movement. Leveraging story and multiple modes to develop content becomes critical for the church as a method for sharing the story of the bible with Christians and equip them to share the story of their faith naturally in everyday life.
Section one evaluates the history of communication and its impact on cognition, literacy, and the decline of biblical literacy. Section two reviews several categories of solutions, including smaller alternative communities, scripture-focused discipleship movements, bible mobile applications, and multimodal methods found across social networks. Section three builds a framework for creating a partnership with Church Online pastors working to fill a recognized discipleship void. Section four provides an overview of Spoken.Bible (https://spoken.bible), a platform to facilitate discipleship leveraging the strengths of horizontal networks. Section five outlines a time frame and specifications for this platform.
Miles, Jennifer, "Discipleship in a Digital Age: Leveraging Multimodality and Digital Networks" (2020). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 381.