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The purpose of this project is to help the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA), one of the six agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (PC[USA]), to ignite a church-planting movement. It is argued that the PMA can provide the essential leadership of casting and sustaining a vision that engages the entire denomination in this common purpose. The thesis is built upon a self-replicating process that empowers people to reach their local communities.

Through a study of Scripture, this project identifies four lessons about the church. The church’s primary task is to make disciples. Its identity is to be a connected community. It worships by gathering around the proclamation of the Word and the celebration of the sacraments. Its mission is to be sent out to serve Christ in the world.

The study identifies three core principles about igniting a movement. First, a movement is fundamentally a work of God’s Spirit. Second, igniting a church-planting movement is not unique to the PC(USA). Third, movements rely on the right people and the opportune timing. The opportune time for the PC(USA) occurred at the 220th General Assembly (2012) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This project concludes that the PMA has played—and must continue to play—six fundamental roles. It must paint the desirable future story of what a church-planting movement can become in the PC(USA). The PMA must gather together the right team, and it must seize the opportune moment. Existing structures must be appreciated and adapted toward this common vision. The requisite capacity must be built to sustain and manage expansion. Finally, it must offer a continuous update of good news about what is already happening. While more will be known over time, the project celebrates the positive initial results to the glory of Christ.

Content Reader: Scott Sunquist, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Sunquist, Scott

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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Presbyterian Mission Agency; Church development, New; Missional church movement


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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