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The purpose of this project is the development and implementation of a Reformed church planting strategy through the establishment and multiplication of Covenant Groups. Desert Hills Presbyterian Church is launching the Covenant Groups in the area of I-17 and Carefree Highway, north of Phoenix, Arizona. Desert Hills Presbyterian Church currently has approximately 138 members living in the area, and some have expressed an interest in helping to start a new church.

Part One of the project looks at the demographics of those living within the target area, including the overall population, age, ethnicity, and religious practices. This section also reviews the demographics of Desert Hills Presbyterian Church, in order to ensure that the church can successfully plant a church through the multiplication of Covenant Groups. The goal is for both Desert Hills Presbyterian Church and the new church to be healthy congregations at the end of the project.

Part Two discusses relevant biblical and theological perspectives from various authors on the topic of what is meant by “church” and their principal images and understandings. This section then looks at a Reformed understanding of church, along with its strengths and weaknesses. The section culminates in the development of an understanding of church that fits the ministry context and engages the authors and Reformed tradition.

Part Three presents an overview of the strategy, goals, leadership, and resources necessary for implementation. This section includes a three-year timeline complete with targeted church planting outcomes. The section concludes with a process for the implementation of the project, and it identifies the accountability structures for assessing the church planting outcome.

Content Reader: H. Stanley Wood, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Wood, H. Stanley

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Desert Hills Presbyterian Church (Scottsdale, Ariz.); Church development, New; Church group work; Small groups


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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