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Markus Watson

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In order for Northminster Presbyterian Church (NPC) to learn to live missionally, church members participated in a series of Neighborhood Connection Groups (NCGs) to explore what characteristics of groups make for effective missional engagement. Located in San Diego, California, NPC started with the assumption that a missionally engaged group is actively involved in its neighborhood, dwells in Scripture, shares stories of neighborhood engagement, prays together, and remains open to discovering unanticipated opportunities for ministry. This three-part paper presents NPC’s missional journey.

Part One focuses on the theological and contextual background of Northminster Presbyterian Church with an emphasis on the missional change process. A brief overview of the Neighborhood Connection Groups experiment is provided. Part Two describes the starting assumptions of the project as well as how the NCG experiment was structured, how the research was implemented, the data that was developed as a result of interviews, and observations taken during reflection times. Part Three reflects on what was learned. Specific emphasis was placed on what systems have influenced Northminster over the years and how the NCGs affected that influence. The kind of theology that inspired this experiment and how a theology of the neighborhood developed as a result of the NCGs are discussed along with what was learned about Northminster’s context in the Clairemont community. Finally, this discussion concludes with recommendations for the future by focusing on whether or not Northminster should continue to implement Neighborhood Connection Groups and, if so, how they might be modified for greater effectiveness.

Content Reader: Alan Roxburgh, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Roxburgh, Alan J.

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Northminster Presbyterian Church (San Diego, Calif.); Presbyterian Church; Missional church movement; Evangelistic work; Church group work


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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