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The purpose of this doctoral project was to implement a pilot missional community as one way of helping Irvine Presbyterian Church live out their mission, “to make disciples who make disciples.” It proposed helping congregants shift their understanding from church as a place to church as a people by training and equipping them to be everyday missionaries and disciple-making disciples within the vehicle of a missional community, which can be described as an extended family following Jesus on mission together. To test this thesis, a pilot missional community was launched in March 2014 and is currently ongoing with around thirty participants.
Through an exploration of Scripture, this project identified God as the original missional community. Accordingly, God’s people are called to join him on his mission in the world: Jesus’ disciples are missionary disciples and the Church is the Spirit-led and empowered sent people of God. This project further argued that discipleship and mission are to be practiced in community. It examined the New Testament oikos/household churches as a biblical basis for missional communities, and considered some sociological insights and missiological applications in proposing the adaptation and implementation of a pilot missional community within the Irvine church.
Testing of this thesis is ongoing and an initial assessment is planned for mid- 2016. However, the full results of this project will not be evident for several years given the investment of time and relational energy needed to practice discipleship and mission in community, particularly in light of the challenges posed by the individualism and busyness so common to life in suburban Southern California. Nevertheless, initial progress has been encouraging, and this project commends to the Irvine church as well as the larger Church in their respective contexts the further adaptation and implementation of missional communities in their efforts to make disciples.
Content Reader: Gareth Icenogle, DMin
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Fung, Gabriel C., "Training Everyday Missionaries and Disciple-Making Disciples with Irvine Presbyterian Church" (2016). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 232.