Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)




The tension between old and new tears at the heart and soul of the church in the United States. For example, does the church focus on building new churches and allow old ones to die? Do church leaders develop a more effective ethos that renews the hearts and minds of Christians in old and new churches? This paper deals with how leaders can develop an ethos that sustains discipleship in the life of its members. It is the thesis of this paper that long-term members of the Christian faith can be revivified through a biblical discipleship process. The paper explores some early history of the Stone/Campbell movement, examines four contemporary leaders from the same movement at various stages of congregational development, and describes their opinions of how disciples are formed effectively for ministry in the twenty-first century. The biblical milieu and its influence on biblical understandings of discipleship are analyzed. Some of the issues related to discipleship in the post modern culture and the related challenges of transitioning a church to biblical discipleship are discussed, as are the connections between leadership, community and character formation. Based on these analyses and discussion, a discipleship process is proposed that helps a congregation revive its missional impulse and remain faithful to its role as the Body of Christ in the emerging culture. Finally, the implications for churches faced with new challenges that threaten their survival in the emerging culture are presented.

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