The goal of this study was to help the members of the Bronte Seventh-day Adventist Church intentionally experience, better understand, and systematically engage in community, discipleship, and mission, so that they could live out their calling as the Church of Jesus Christ. The strategy involved developing a small group ministry using these three core ecclesiological elements as its main focus and structure.
This study proposes a Trinitarian ecclesiology that defines the Church as the people who have responded to the calling of God, “in” Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, to belong (community), to be-come (discipleship), and to bless (mission). At the heart of a Trinitarian ecclesiological identity is the Church’s mission to make disciples, which happens in and through community. In addition, from the beginning of the world and through history, God has used covenantal small groups as the fundamental communal experience to accomplish his purposes for humanity.
A two-phased small group strategy was developed as follows: first, a six-week pilot program was implemented through a forty-days-of-prayer initiative with a small group component; second, this was followed by the first eight-week cycle of a new small group ministry for the church. The project consisted of six stages: a study of resources and vision casting; leadership recruitment and training for the pilot project; implementation of the pilot project; a five-part sermon series; leadership training on small groups; and implementation of the first small group cycle. At the conclusion of the project, a survey was conducted to evaluate its impact.
Overall, this project made a significant positive impact in the life of participants and the church at large, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitatively, growth was seen in membership, giving patterns, and involvement in ministry. Qualitatively, growth was evident through new relationships, deeper fellowship, and more fervour and interest in discipleship practices.
Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD
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Oudri, Gerardo, "Rediscovering Community, Discipleship, and Mission through Small Groups at the Bronte Seventh-day Adventist Church" (2014). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 160.