Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
W. David Phillips, DMin
Karen Claassen, DMin
This dissertation claims that the church is siloed, disconnected, and disengaged from the communities they are called to serve. The destructive mentalities of a disengaged church may even be complicit in creating and enabling some of these community health problems instead of being a part of the solutions. This research is focused on how ecclesiology, ethnography, and epidemiology is a missional paradigm to improve the gospel’s contextualization and work in community transformation. Chapter 1 demonstrates how increasing public health issues (such as pandemics, chronic diseases, poverty, homelessness, food deserts, addiction, inadequate health care, gun violence, mass incarceration, racism, and social injustice are larger than any one church can address. In spite of increased public awareness and pleas from the public health community for churches to become actively engaged, provide solutions and resources; the destructive mentalities of a disengaged church may even be complicit in creating and enabling some of these community health problems instead of being a part of the solutions.
Chapter 2 examines how ecclesiology has been based on a mistranslation, a semiotic void, or a deliberate politically motivated translation of the Greek term ἐκκλησία spoken by Jesus on Matthew 16:18, to show how a proper view of ecclesiology can enable congregations to work together as one church in their city. Chapter 3 introduces ethnography to assist congregations in the semiotic reading of their communities, learning the story, context, and culture in order to join God in His Missio Dei in the neighborhood.
Chapter 4 introduces Epidemiology as a system of organized soteriology and eschatology as a means to bring about community wholeness. Chapter 5 presents how contextual intelligence enables congregations to develop cultural competence for contextualizing the gospel. Chapter 6 presents how a church collective, is able to take concrete steps in the work of community transformation.
Berry, Michael J., "Re-Imagining Ecclesiology: A New Missional Paradigm For Community Transformation" (2021). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 429.