Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Calvin Habig, DMin
Mindy Smith, DMin
The church in the twenty-first century is not effectively reaching, connecting, or engaging with Zillennials. While Robertsdale Church of God’s1 lack of reaching, connecting, and engaging with the younger adults that comprise the Zillennials is not isolated, it in no way makes the problem less concerning. Many Zillennials live in the rural Broad Top area of Pennsylvania that have not been reached, connected, or engaged with any church. This paper will argue that the key to reaching, connecting, and engaging with these adults is a discipleship process using an EPIC framework focused on growing disciples of Jesus Christ.
The challenges that rural churches, such as RCOG, face in reaching Zillennials will first be introduced. Then the biblical foundations looking at Walter Brueggemann's works, framing the work of reaching, connecting, and engaging with Zillennials in terms of inviting people to participate in the story of God, will be explored. Several Old Testament passages and several New Testament passages will be examined to understand how the invitation to participate in the story of God is a biblical understanding of evangelism. Theological foundations will then be explored, including Bonhoeffer's theology of community, Leslie Newbigin's theology of Evangelism, Joseph Myer's understanding of belonging and social spaces, and Frost's and Hirsch's Missional Ecclesiology. The different discipleship practices that will help reach, connect, and engage with Zillennials in the Broad Top Area will be discussed. The EPIC framework and its relation to reaching, connecting, and engaging with Zillennials will be elucidated. Finally, the paper will give guidelines for RCOG to create and implement a plan for reaching, connecting, and engaging Zillennials. This will result in a process for envisioning and implementing evangelism/discipleship using the EPIC framework in the ministry of RCOG.
Fields, Jared, "A View of the Future from the Broad Top: Reaching, Connecting, and Engaging with Zillennials in Rural Pennsylvania" (2021). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 418.