This project focuses on helping Open Door Church, in Mountain View, California, engage passionately in relationship building, local missions, and evangelism by creating mid-sized, mission-focused community groups. Open Door Church is located in the center of Silicon Valley, which draws entrepreneurial people from all over the world. The resultant diversity creates challenges for evangelism: traditional strategies often fail to connect with people unfamiliar with the North American Christian narrative and church culture. Rather than using attractional methods of church growth, this project seeks to grow a church that is integrated into everyday life and centered on mission.
This study first analyzes the impact of Silicon Valley’s community dynamics on Christian witness and evangelism. It also examines Open Door Church’s own culture, including its unique characteristics as a recently birthed multi-site church housed on another church’s campus. These factors affect leadership, decision-making, and resource management and allocation.
The second part of the study engages the biblical and theological literature on group life and mission. It discusses the varying experiences of different-sized gatherings of Jesus’ followers. It also explores the foundational issue of leadership development in terms of Jesus’ discipleship model.
Finally, this study analyzes how mid-sized, mission-focused groups encourage people to learn about and follow Jesus Christ. A proposed pilot project is outlined that will assess the potential of these groups for sustaining relational connection among participants and maintaining a mission focus. The project entails selecting and training leaders, fostering a culture of discipleship and mission, and launching two new groups. A summary of relevant insights concludes the project.
Content Reader: Tim Morey, D.Min.
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Palmbush, Scott S., "Capturing the Power of Mid-Sized, Mission-Focused Groups: Missional Communities at Open Door Church" (2014). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 163.