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The purpose of this ministry focus paper is to implement a small-group program utilizing a Twelve Step model of spiritual formation at Jupiter First Church to empower adults to experience increased wholeness of mind, body, and spirit, through growth in relationships with God, self, and others. Jupiter First Church is located in Jupiter, Florida, which has experienced rapid population shifts, contributing to a fragmented sense of community. Many in the congregation are familiar with the Twelve Steps as a vehicle for recovery from addiction, but not as a means of spiritual formation. To address this issue, a pilot project will present a Christ-centered spiritual formation process based on the Twelve Steps, including Bible study, spiritual disciplines, and sharing of personal stories to foster community in small groups.

This paper is divided into three sections. Part One contextualizes Jupiter First Church, assessing the community and distinctive character of the congregation. Particular attention is paid to community demographics, review of area Twelve Step opportunities, and current practices of spiritual formation in the church, in order to address both the ministry challenge and opportunities provided for this congregation.

Part Two explores the theological and biblical rationale for the initiative. A review of this congregation’s theological foundation guides the development of this project. An exploration of the biblical constructs of shalom and spiritual formation as the pursuit of human wholeness serves to undergird this initiative.

Emerging from this reflection, Part Three centers on the creation of the blueprint for this ministry initiative. This section identifies the goals and strategy for this plan of providing participants with opportunities for engagement in small groups designed to foster both community and spiritual growth toward wholeness. This section concludes with an evaluation of the project and offers insight for future initiatives.

Content Reader: David Augsburger, Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

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Augsburger, David

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Jupiter First Church (Jupiter, Fla.); United Church of Christ; Spiritual formation; Church group work with men; Church group work with women; Twelve-step programs


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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