The goal of this study was to explore how inviting members of the Culver Palms Church of Christ to cross neighborhood boundaries through the practice of hospitality can stimulate missional innovation and identify adaptive challenges for missional engagement. The thesis was tested by creating seven small groups for action-reflection to participate in the practices of lectio divina and hospitality. This study offers a thick description of the community context, the congregation’s history, and the practice of leadership. Formal and functional ecclesiologies as well as impediments to missional life are examined.
Action learning, interviews, surveys, participant observation, and Appreciative Inquiry were methodologies used to structure the project of inviting seven groups to participate in a ten-week challenge to dwell in the biblical text of Luke 10:1-12 and cross neighborhood boundaries using the Practicing Hospitality workbook. Interviews were used at the beginning and end of the ten-week period. Participant observation was employed with each group. Many small group members took a survey at the completion of the groups and also participated in a group Appreciative Inquiry process. An analysis of qualitative data describes themes that emerged and includes responses to specific questions.
While these groups struggled to cross neighborhood boundaries, some members demonstrated an increased understanding of hospitality and sought opportunities to engage in it. Personal leadership competencies, contextual issues, church formation systems, and theological frameworks are reflected upon to identify resources for a local theology of leadership and mission. Opportunities and recommendations for future praxis are explored, as this project is part of an ongoing journey of transformation.
Content Reader: Alan J. Roxburgh, DMin
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Manassee, Mark H., "Won’t You Be My Neighbor: Boundary Crossing and the Culver Palms Church of Christ" (2015). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 175.