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The goal of this doctoral project is to accompany congregants of First United Methodist Church, Colorado Springs (hereafter, FUMC) in an audio-based, downloadable personal retreat as a means of learning and practicing spiritual practices of disengagement.

Serving as a spiritual director in a large mainline congregation reveals just how fragmented and distracted people can be by their mobile technology devices and by their perpetual busyness. The historical presence of a military culture and mindset in and around FUMC adds another layer of complexity for the human soul seeking the freedom and transformation of Christ. In light of these challenges, FUMC has recently begun an online ministry in the form of a podcast that leads the listener through Lectio Divina exercises.

The purpose of this project is to deepen and widen the online spiritual formation ministry of FUMC. The participants in the project will be invited to download to their mobile devices an audio-based series of spiritual teachings on solitude, silence, meditation, and prayer that the participants will then take to the retreat center of their choice. The retreat experience will be enhanced by meetings with a spiritual director both before and after the retreat.

The project is divided into three parts. Part One will include an introduction and share the context and culture of FUMC and of Colorado Springs, including a description of the expanding popularity of FUMC’s Lectio Divina podcast. Part Two will present a theology of the with-God life, drawing upon the works of John Wesley, Dallas Willard, Mark Scandrette, and Henri Nouwen. Part Three will include the implications of this kingdom theology expressed in the goals and strategies of the spiritual retreat. This section will also explain the target audience, the leadership and training, and the process of evaluating the success of the project.

Content Reader: Keith Matthews

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Matthews, Keith

Document Type





First United Methodist Church (Colorado Springs, Colo.); Lectio divina; Spiritual retreats; Spiritual formation; Spiritual exercises; Internet in church work


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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