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The goal of this doctoral project is to pilot a dramatic Scripture reading and narrative storytelling approach to discipleship and evangelism at First Presbyterian Church designed to bridge the cultural divisions in the multi-ethnic community of Duncanville, Texas. The pastoral challenge was to strengthen spiritual foundations and deepen participation in evangelistic outreach to help the church become a vibrant reflection of disciples on mission in their changing neighborhood. The goal for the church is to learn to reach out to all ethnicities so that potential church growth reflects the community in which it resides.
This project presents an approach to evangelism which strengthens discipleship while developing a method for lay outreach which unleashes the narratives of the Bible through storytelling and dramatic reading. The premise of this project is twofold. The power of the Holy Spirit uniquely speaks through the Bible to bring conversion and deepen discipleship, and the Holy Spirit empowers believers as they fulfill their Christ-given mission to share his message. Congregants are equipped through the spiritual discipline of lectio divina small groups, internalizing the stories, and then telling them in a public community outreach festival designed to draw the diverse cultures in Duncanville together.
The outreach festival was held in a park. Biblical stories were about care for the poor, the foreigner, and a concern for justice. The goal was to provide a feel-good atmosphere with service-oriented booths, food vendors, games, a silent auction and raffle. A combined choir from the church and Duncanville High School performed with storytellers. Approximately one thousand people attended and $51,811 was raised for local charity.
The outreach exceeded expectations and has led to a church-initiated, public Community Conversation series, with participants including culturally diverse community leaders, opening new doors of opportunity for First Presbyterian Church to further reach out to the community.
Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD
Material is subject to copyright.
Hertenstein, Virginia, "Deepening Discipleship through Creating a Public Forum for Biblical Storytelling in a Multi-Ethnic Community" (2014). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 161.