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The purpose of this paper is to develop a way for the membership of Grace Covenant to mature in Christ through a more participatory manner of discipleship. In particular, this paper seeks to move the church’s discipleship process into the homes of members where Scripture is actively engaged and discussed by all present. The spiritual discipline of lectio divina will foster this kind of engagement with Scripture during each meeting.
The first portion of this paper explores Grace Covenant’s unique context and opportunities for growth given its location. This portion also argues that the church’s current discipleship model is deficient and unable to engage the next generation of Christians in the area. Finally, this section provides a few reasons that the church can be hopeful about fresh, participatory expressions of discipleship emerging in the homes of members.
Part two of this paper entails a theological reflection about the Trinitarian nature of Christian community and the implications for Christian formation unfolding in home- based small groups. The paper will further show the ways in which the Reformed tradition both hinders and undergirds this new paradigm for discipleship. Themes of community, vulnerability, and the power of the Holy Spirit are prominent in the argument that the membership will most fully be transformed in and through home-based small groups that employ the lectio divina process with Scripture.
Part two concludes by outlining a practical strategy for building a church-wide small group experience. A central aspect of this process involves taking the necessary time to train and build a strong group of small group leaders from within the congregation. Once the church-wide effort is underway, the paper highlights the importance of listening for testimonies as the key indicator of the Spirit’s faithful work of transformation.
Doctor of Ministry
Discipleship, Small Groups, Lectio Divina
Hulme-Lippert, Bobby, "Listening for Christ, Proclaiming Christ: Small Groups as a Catalyst of Transformation at Grace Covenant" (2017). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 273.