Date of Award


Document Type

Project Portfolio

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Ekaputra Tupamahu, PhD

Second Advisor

Jacqui Bland, DMin

Third Advisor

Kenneth Van Vliet, DMin


It has become evident that American Christianity is declining at a staggering rate throughout the nation. In my own denomination, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, membership dwindled by 5% even before COVID impacted our churches even more significantly. Over the last decade the amount of non-religiously affiliated persons has increased exponentially as many people of faith are leaving behind their religion altogether. Research suggests that there are various reasons for this decline. This project aims to answer the problem of individuals leaving their churches and their beliefs behind by creating innovative spiritual communities designed to form, integrate, and re-engage society for the future. The need, problem, and opportunity that came out of the workshops and deliberations for this project is as follows:

The American Church is experiencing a crisis of formation and must move toward the creation of authentic and innovative spiritual communities designed to form, integrate, and reengage society for the future.

The research for this project unearthed a need for a new spiritual community to take root that was reminiscent of the earliest Christian communities and focuses on spiritual formation, relationship cultivation, and the need for deeply rooted familial and faith connections. Through this project, CommonPlace is born.

The following doctoral project includes the development of a unique micro-church gathering designed to appeal to individuals from diverse backgrounds for a time of worship centered around a dining room or restaurant table. Though CommonPlace is designed with my denomination, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, in mind, it can be replicated and repurposed within the distinctives of any denomination.

In summation, for three consecutive Fridays, I convened a group of fifteen individuals from diverse denominational and ethnic backgrounds in my home around the dinner table to partake in the CommonPlace gatherings which were met with positive feedback and the desire to participate in future gatherings

Included in

Christianity Commons