Date of Award

2-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Department

Seminary

First Advisor

Darrell Peregrym, DMin

Second Advisor

Randy Woodley, PhD

Third Advisor

Jason Clark, PhD, DMin

Abstract

This dissertation addresses the lack of focus on “others” within the Western Church and too much focus on “me.” The explosion of seeker-sensitive churches and the attractional model of church fuels churches feeling the need to be attractional to keep members happy. The attractional model would appear to be others-focused, but it seems to have had the opposite effect of creating a focus on “me and what I want” within the church. I believe that this has led to a decline in church membership. Field research and literature review support submitting recommendations on how a pastor in a Southern Baptist church can change the culture of the church from being inwardly-focused to focusing on others.

Chapter 1 looks closely at the perceived lack of concern for others outside the church. I address focus change in the church and what leadership encounters while moving a church from an inward to an others focus. Additionally, the lack of discipleship within the church is explored.

Chapter 2 reveals the biblical background of discipleship and how it was viewed in the Early Church. The Scriptural basis for discipleship is seen in how Jesus trained his disciples, as well as in the epistles where the focus on discipleship never wavers.

Chapter 3 considers the different approaches taken in discipleship in Church history. The theological implications of a seeker versus discipleship model are also reviewed.

Chapter 4 offers the results of field research with a group of pastors and leaders. I then review research from Pew and Barna, highlighted the problems existing within the Western church.

Chapter 5 addresses the changes pastors can initiate to help their churches move toward discipleship and the ways pushback can be addressed. The pace at which these changes can happen, and what happens if a leader moves too quickly are also explained.

Chapter 6 reviews the unintended negative impact of the attractional model versus the benefits of changing to the discipleship model.

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Christianity Commons

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