Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
For over 18 years, Disney has offered over a million alumni the opportunity to benchmark the philosophies of the Walt Disney World resort. Since I am implementing the metaphor of the front porch as an integral part of the overall care model of the church, I ask, who better implements a welcoming, front porch atmosphere than Disney? Where Disney has elevated the mouse as its icon of celebrating and welcoming, I propose that Jesus is the icon for the front porch. Rex Miller in The Millenium Matrix reminds us, "That original thinking will certainly include experimenting with past mediums of expression and finding new expressions that are more than a simple patchwork of old and current."1 Who has more effective and newer expressions than Disney? Again, Miller reminds us, We will develop new skills that enable us to think in multiple media, work collaboratively, organize as distributed networks, affiliate with diverse individuals of common interest, think with both sides of the brain, and define our communities more loosely but also more deliberately as intentional communities.2 As I collaborated with Disney, I walked away with information I had not previously received in conferences from church culture. I was stimulated via the resonation I experienced and recalled the business practices I had been exposed to in corporate America prior to receiving the call into ministry. It was a beautiful experience to realize that God was preparing me, years ago, for my current position. A cultural excellence from the corporate world which resulted in profit is not the norm or expected
in church culture. As I began to speak the language of excellence, I learned in the corporate world, one of which I was reminded at Disney, I realized that excellence is not just a business principle but should be an expected principle in the church. This same excellence has not been observed in the pastoral care vein of many churches today. I am convinced that Pastoral Care University has made the ministry at Hillvue Heights Church stronger, deeper, and wider, as 700+ people have received and thus implemented this into Spirit-Driven Care. It is important to note that many who currently serve are the very ones who had also received ministry. "There are three characteristics-one, contagiousness; two, the fact that little causes can have big effect; and three, that change happens not gradually but at one dramatic moment - are the same three principles that define how measles moves through a grade-school classroom or the flu attacks every winter."3 This has also proven to be true in reference to the care model implemented via Pastoral Care University. Contagious? Yes. Loving? Yes. Life transforming? Yes. The question I want to explore is "How effective is Pastoral Care in the overall dynamic of impacting people's lives." In order to answer this question, I will engage the metaphor of the church as "the front porch" because I believe that it is a valid paradigm for exploring an overall model of congregational care. Furthermore, I will explore how the "front porch" metaphor holds both socio-cultural and spiritual significance for understanding how the church in America demonstrates compassion or a lack thereof to the world.
Hale, Mark B., "Pastoral Care, An Effective Front Porch for the Postmodern Church" (2007). Doctor of Ministry. 542.