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The purpose of this doctoral project is to develop a way for the leadership of Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church to address the complexity of its context through the practice of discernment. In particular, the project is designed to teach the leadership of the church to hear God’s voice personally and corporately. Through didactic teachings, the leadership will be provided a framework for understanding how God speaks. By equipping them with discernment practices, they will be empowered to practice and experience discernment both personally and corporately. Finally, these understandings and practices will be applied to decision-making and communication within the context of group leadership.

The first portion of this project seeks to explore the unique context of the church within the cities of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. The history of the church and the ways it has been equipped to minister in its context are investigated. This project proposes that the growing diversity and complexity both within the church and its context call for discernment of God’s lead for the leadership of BHPC.

The second part of this project is a theological reflection on hearing God’s voice. It begins by exploring the leading ideas on discernment by exploring the prominent theological literature on the topic. It then explores the ways that discernment is either already present in the church or foundations are laid for its development. The difficulties associated with discernment are explored along with ways that these difficulties are mitigated.

The final part of this paper breaks down the ideological purpose of the project into practical steps. The information and development practices related to discernment are applied to the Deacon Board. This section explains the development of curriculum and modalities that create space for both individual and corporate discernment training. It explains the criteria and expectations for the pilot program as well as the resources needed. Finally, this section explains how this project will be continually and finally assessed.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Matthews, Keith J.

Document Type





Discernment, Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church (BHPC), Leadership




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