Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Deborah Loyd, DMin
Jeffrey Savage, DMin
The Church has a strong vision of the beginning of a life of faith as men and women come to Christ, but it lacks a framework and language to articulate the continued development, growth, and formation of faith over a lifetime. The result is a group of leaders and followers who lack direction to facilitate a deeper participation in and formation of life with God. The external tools provided by the church do not quench the questions of their inward reality. This leads to identifying faith as doing and believing the right things, on one hand, or becoming disillusioned on the other. This paper will explore the work of James Fowler’s Faith Development Theory as a way to understand how faith develops over time, through a series of transitions and stages, inviting a deeper embodiment that is supported by the larger community of faith. Embodiment believes everyday realities of life are the very place to participate in and with God’s work. This was the conviction of Saint Benedict of Nursia in the formation of his Rule and monastic communities, as well as in the formational and theological writings of N.T. Wright and Dallas Willard. The goal of this dissertation and the subsequent artifact is to help readers participate with God in the ongoing development and formation of their faith. Four companions of formation are offered to assist in this effort and awareness: engaging story, silence and solitude, understanding symbols and spiritual direction, and the place of community. The artifact for this dissertation is a curriculum designed to provide a process that honors different stages of faith and aids those in the local church to participate with God in their ongoing development and formation.
Nolt, Joshua, "Faith Development Theory and a Developmental Approach to Spiritual Formation for the" (2021). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 411.