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The dynamics of postmodernism and American secularism make Christ’s Great Commission difficult to fulfill. A thorough study of Matthew 28:18-20 establishes that the mandate is still valid, and that missional communities must get creative in fulfilling it. Mindful that the command to make disciples is accomplished by both baptism and teaching, this paper argues that Christians would be more effective if they taught unbelievers before their conversions. The engagement with the unchurched, de-churched, and religiously allergic is termed “missional teaching” and is carried out through informal but informative conversation.

This paper examines the apparent resistance to missional teaching coming both from the target group of the unchurched and potential teachers themselves. The San Francisco Bay Area is highlighted as a microcosm of the larger missional context. It was found that certain major shifts in attitude and method would enable churches to overcome their mental and institutional objections to missional teaching. To do so, however, the bridge between the Kingdom of God and the “world of the unchurched” must be crossed. The most important shift, described at length, is replacing traditional teaching paradigms with creative alternatives suggested by experiential, dialogic, and subject-centered learning theories. Applying Scripture and educational theory to the problem, this paper proposes a general framework for missional teaching in informal settings, “third places,” promoting three models: apprenticeship, storytelling, and the joint adventure.

The paper reports the result of collaboration with the Northern California site of Fuller Theological Seminary to equip missional leaders for the work of the Kingdom. Missional qualities and skills were identified and a course designed and taught to develop them in Bay Area Fuller students. The experiment demonstrates that theological education has a contribution to make toward improved missional teaching, if it translates theory into practice and enables individuals to improvise in the missional setting.

Content Reader: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Fredrickson, Kurt

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Missional church movement; Missions; Postmodernism; Protestant churches; San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.); Christian education


Missions and World Christianity


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March 2018

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