The focus of this study is to present a strategy for the congregation of Chatham Baptist Church to reimagine itself as a missional community of reconciliation by learning about reconciliation during worship and small group experiences, and then by demonstrating the practice of reconciliation through a church-initiated community reconciliation project. To achieve that goal, the research examines the context of both church and community. In addition, three areas of concern are explored.
First, the church’s historic denominational ecclesiology is reviewed and critiqued. Then, a new ecclesiological vision informed by Anabaptist perspectives emerges in order to create an environment for sustainable reconciliation praxis. Second, the study is grounded in a biblical theology drawn from both Old and New Testaments, and informed by academic disciplines, with attention to the restoration of community as the goal of reconciliation. Third, the church’s mission is critiqued as inadequate for the challenges of the twenty-first century. Rather than supporting a program of missions work, the church is challenged to become a missional community by embracing the theology and praxis of the missional church paradigm.
The execution of the project design centers upon the church gathered for worship, supplemented by coordinated small group reflection. Criteria for the preferred future of the church’s ministry of reconciliation are developed from the study of multicultural congregations. Finally, the implications of a missional ministry of reconciliation for Chatham Baptist Church and the wider evangelical community are demonstrated. The thesis remains to be tested in the forth-coming execution of the pilot project and the full congregational experience during 2013.
Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD
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Warnock, Charles H. III, "The Reconciling Community: The Missional Mending of Spiritual and Social Relationships through Local Church Ministry" (2013). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 95.