Message, Mode and Milieu: Recalling an Ancient Approach to Christian Discipleship Sufficient for the Western-Consumerist Context of the American College Student
Date of Award
Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives (DLd)
American university students today are steeped in the ideals and practices of Western-consumerism. Rather than leading lives of self-sacrifice, as Jesus modeled, these emerging adults, even those who claim to be "Christians," typically reflect the self-centered ideals of the consumerist culture around them. There are at least two reasons for this reality. First, Western-consumerism tenets are diametrically opposed to Christian values. Students are pulled along by powerful cultural forces, which serve to shape both belief and behavior. Second, the Western social construct is becoming less conducive to a life lived in close community. As a result, this emerging generation is not able to locate and maintain relationships with mentors and Christian communities. Section 1 details this problem, examining the negative influences Western-consumerist culture has on its participants. This section demonstrates the difficulties this particular worldview presents for Christians. Section 2 examines other proposed solutions to this problem, identifying several key weaknesses in these approaches. Ultimately, this study is focused on finding an effective way to disciple young adults, empowering them to incarnate God’s love in the Western-consumerist context. Section 3 outlines my thesis. I have identified three key elements to establishing a sufficient foundation for effective spiritual formation for the young adult, including: 1) A message: Young people must hear and understand the meta-narrative of Scripture, and realize they have a place within this great Story; 2) A mode: This generation of emerging adults requires a holistic learning environment that engages their entire being, heart, mind and body; 3) A milieu: Students need mentors and Christian community to help them firmly establish behaviors that are in sync with their beliefs. When all three of these elements are in place, effective discipleship of the young life in Christ can happen.
Westfall, William John, "Message, Mode and Milieu: Recalling an Ancient Approach to Christian Discipleship Sufficient for the Western-Consumerist Context of the American College Student" (2013). Doctor of Ministry. 65.
On August 29 2022, this degree of Doctor of Ministry with a concentration in Leadership and Global Perspectives (DMin) was exchanged for a Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives (DLd), with the approval of George Fox University, ATS, and NWCCU.