Date of Award


Document Type

Project Portfolio

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Melinda Smith, DMin

Second Advisor

Mark Chironna, DMin

Third Advisor

Leonard I. Sweet, PhD


Most churches are great at welcoming visitors and have worked hard to develop their discipleship pipeline, but between these two stages where most churches focus and excel there is an experiential gap for new members. Looking into this gap more deeply, I discovered that despite guided assimilation processes, new church members feel abandoned when moved immediately to self-directed engagement. Providing for their unique needs increases their sense of belonging and commitment. Through conversations with church leaders, members, and those seeking to find church community, I noticed that this liminal period was the turning point in most of their stories, too often leading to frustration for church leaders and disappointed longing for those seeking a church home. Having experience as both a church leader seeking to address this experiential gap through small groups and hospitality efforts and a new church member desiring to become rooted and engaged, yet struggling to do so despite following all the steps my new church laid out, I recognized the feelings expressed by all parties because they were part of my story. To address this, I developed the 8-session experience, Known. Using a story-based, question-driven strategy designed to build committed, invested relationships between new members and the church, Known provides a framework helping both the church and new members tell the story of their history, mission, vision, values, community, and culture to develop a more holistic understanding of one another and how their individual stories are, together, part of God’s story. The BeKnown.Church website hosts the full suite of Known resources, designed to aid the local church through the implementation, launch, and running of a Known experience. Questions transform us and stories connect us. Known combines these truths to help build belonging and commitment between churches and their new members.

Included in

Christianity Commons