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This paper presents a church planting strategy aimed at influencing people to change from being “consumers” of religious goods and services to becoming active leader-participants, reflecting the Kingdom of God as lived out at Cornerstone Covenant Church (hereafter, Cornerstone). Whereas many contemporary models for church planting are consumer-driven, this study demonstrates that a leadership model with a missional focus for the community can be used to plant churches which develop maturing disciples of Jesus Christ.

Part One first examines the demographic composition of California’s Coachella Valley, one of contrasts. Attention is directed to the core of church planting as “a missional expression of God's heart.”1 Part Two explores the backdrop of Cornerstone's ecclesiology. First, a literature review examines cultural trends and specific church strategies used to influence spiritual transformation. Next, the theological context of Cornerstone is explored in its ecclesiastical connection to the Evangelical Covenant Church. Lastly, attention is given to the theological background of church planting, as documented throughout the Bible. Part Three presents a blueprint for a church planting strategy at Cornerstone that will help people to adjust their Christian faith from one of passivity (consumerism) into active and involved participation (producing). These people participate in three-core practices: identifying with the life of Jesus; embodying true koinonia; and interacting with the surrounding community.2

This project represents six years of on-the-job research and development. Inspired by instructors such as Reggie McNeal and Eddie Gibbs, Cornerstone was planted in the winter of 2005, adapting the strategy described herein.

Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD


1 Reggie McNeal, Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church (San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009), 23.

2 Eddie Gibbs, and Ryan K. Bolger, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2005), 43-44.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Fredrickson, Kurt

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Cornerstone Covenant Church (Palm Desert, Calif.); Church development, New; Evangelical Covenant Church; Discipling (Christianity); Spiritual formation


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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