Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Kurtley Knight, DMin
Jason Wellman, DMin
This paper explores the problem of anxiety, loneliness, and division within the United States. Research shows that while anxiety, loneliness, and division are on the rise, church participation is on the decline. In light of this reality, this paper asks the question, “How can the church be a community so that lonely and anxious people can be seen, known, and belong?”
From Genesis through Revelation, Scripture witnesses to God’s presence in creation, uniting with humanity to expand God’s heaven and earth temple into the rest of creation. Within God’s temple, God’s people are called to love God first, then self and neighbor. Both the second and third century church of Rome, as well as the Methodist movement in the eighteenth century focused on the heaven and earth dwelling place. They did this through a lens of paradise, patience, and practice, with their focus on both vertical and horizontal relationships.
In the twenty-first century, neuroscience and psychology have discovered much about the workings of the human brain. The brain is a complex set of systems that function best when integrated and working together. Community development research shows that transforming communities are love-based rather than fear-based, and focused on creating spaces that invest in people and possibilities. They are Christ-centered and relationship-based.
This paper argues that in order to address the needs of an anxious and lonely world, the church needs to be a place of shalom. It must join with God, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the unity of Christ to love God and one another, and do this through the lens of paradise, practice, and patience.
Gatlin, Jodi, "The Household of God: Building Communities of Shalom" (2021). Doctor of Ministry. 437.