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The goal of this paper is to develop a strategy for renewal at First Presbyterian Church, Milton, Pennsylvania. The strategy is designed to strengthen spiritual relationships within the church through a home group ministry that facilitates discipleship, fellowship, and ministry within the church. First Presbyterian Church is a two-hundred-year-old mainline church in the northeast.

The church has a colorful history of influence in the small town of Milton. Over the last several years, however, decline has threatened the town and the church of mostly aging baby boomers. Church members have limited spiritual friendships and lack opportunities to nurture one another's faith. A recent Natural Church Development survey revealed a lack of passionate spirituality within the church. In order to nurture Christian community, home groups will be introduced to encourage spiritual friendships and discipleship through mutual ministry.

This paper contains three major sections. The first section describes the ministry challenges including the state of community relationships in America, and the challenges and opportunities of a small town community and main line church.

The second section describes the biblical and theological foundations for relationships within the Christian community. It begins with a review of six books, and then explores biblical images and connectional practices along with a theology of renewal and its practical implications.

The final section provides a practical strategy for introducing ongoing home groups at First Presbyterian Church. A plan for leadership development, experimentation, and ongoing evaluation is set forth that is culturally sensitive. The end result should yield a group of leaders within the church who work together to nurture spiritual renewal through home groups.

Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Fredrickson, Kurt

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First Presbyterian Church (Milton, Pa.); Small groups; Church group work; Church renewal; Spiritual formation; Discipling (Christianity)


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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