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Todd A. Gile

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This ministry focus paper will develop a process for growing an additional worshiping community of postmoderns that exists in unity within the Newburgh United Methodist Church family and that seeks to jointly participate in the missio Dei of its context of Southern Indiana. The emerging church community of postmoderns at Newburgh is named “the Joshua Tree.” The church within a church concept, as presented in this project, is central in creating space for a new community with a new ethos to emerge. The premise of this paper is that postmodernity exists in Southern Indiana and that the existing traditional congregation, which currently struggles with ministry to postmoderns, can transition to thrive in this new ethos through its relationship with the Joshua Tree.

This paper contains three parts. The first part presents the context in which this project has emerged and explores the milieu of Southern Indiana and the cultural changes occurring from modernity to postmodernity. It also examines the Indiana United Methodist Church (UMC), both its real and felt need to reverse decline in membership and gain younger disciples of Jesus Christ. The second part articulates a theology of worship using biblical, historical, and tradition support. It establishes the foundation through an ecclesiology of worship and mission and provides an understanding of the challenges of growing a church within a church from a systems perspective. The third part sets forth a strategy for growing the Joshua Tree Emerging community. An assessment of this new community is included and followed by concluding remarks.

Content Reader: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Fredrickson, Kurt

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Newburgh United Methodist Church (Newburgh, Ind.); Postmodernism; Public worship; Church renewal; Generation X


Missions and World Christianity


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