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Lex Akers

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The purpose of this project is to outline the importance of the foundational principles of Bible reading and prayer to a growing, self-feeding disciple’s life. The practice of these two disciplines, or “means of grace,” as John Wesley called them, are essential to the life of a disciple and, as such, must be taught by the Church if it is going to move from a consumer-based model of Church to one that begins to implement the call to “go and make disciples of all nations.” The focus on these two means of grace will lead disciples to an increased love for God and love for their neighbor. The thesis was tested at Hills Church by running two small groups: one on prayer and one on reading the Bible.

The research argues that teaching participants reasons why reading the Bible is of value to discipleship as well as helping them to know how to read the Bible and make personal application will lead them to a greater interest in and greater growth towards Christlikeness. It further suggests that teaching principles of prayer along with practical exercises in prayer will help a disciple develop intimacy with God and growth towards Christlikeness. To test this hypothesis, a series of teachings on “Why Read the Bible?” and on “What Is Prayer?” were developed and taught to church newcomers. To examine the effectiveness of these “means of grace,” a before group and after group survey were completed and the results analyzed.

The conclusions drawn from this study are that teaching and helping disciples to understand and engage in the principles and practice of prayer and Bible reading (with application) does increase the disciple’s awareness of God and enhances the growth of the disciple.

Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Fredrickson, Kurt

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Hills Church (Brisbane, Qld.); Small groups; Methodist Church; Discipling (Christianity); Spiritual formation; Church renewal


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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