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To begin transforming Woodside Church into a disciple-making movement, this project focuses on exponentially reproducing small groups. A pilot program of coaches will train small group leaders to mentor apprentice leaders, motivate members to invite new members, and move on to start new groups. The project is divided into three parts.

The first part studies the community and Woodside’s unique ministry. An examination of demographic, financial, religious, and extracurricular data reveals the successful, stretched, and stressed culture of Lower Makefield. To share the Gospel with this community, Woodside evolved from a traditional congregation with committees to a community of small groups and teams. The church’s responses to the U.S. Congregational Life Survey in 2001 and 2008 document the effects of this change. The review concludes by examining the barriers it must break to become a reproducing church.

The second part explores the biblical and theological foundations for reproducing small groups by studying the spontaneous expansion of the Apostolic, Reformed, and Missional movements. These principles are applied to a decentralized small group network. A theology of the Church reveals that a network of communities, mirroring the inner life of the Trinity, is a preferred ecclesial paradigm to a clergy-dominated institution. This section concludes with a theology of reproducing small groups, which focuses on the way Jesus, Paul, and twenty-first-century churches apprentice and deploy leaders to reproduce Spirit-led communities.

As a catalyst for an exponential network of small groups, the third part presents a pilot program of coaches who supervise small group leaders. The goal is for leaders to embrace the biblical call to reproduce small groups. Leaders will be coached to multiply groups by raising up leaders. Observations, interviews, and questionnaires will assess what facilitates or inhibits reproduction, so these discoveries may be used to coach other small group leaders.

Content Reader: Randy Rowland, DMin

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

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Rowland, Randy

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Woodside Presbyterian Church (Lower Makefield, Pa. : Township); Small groups; Missional church movement; Church group work; Christian leaders


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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