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John Trotter

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The purpose of this ministry focus paper is to present a strategy to introduce and encourage the congregation at Horizon Community Church to approach Bible reading with a goal and expectation of personal transformation by providing training and tools that will facilitate this approach to Scripture. This paper examines the particular context of Horizon Community Church and the broader context of the American evangelical church. It provides an overview of the church’s history, demographics and the current local church culture. It will be asserted that changes within the broader evangelical cultural since the 1960s are conductive to the introduction of transformational Bible reading.

The role of the Bible in spiritual transformation will be examined. This will include exploring the nature, authority, power and purpose of Scripture. It is asserted that the essential nature of spiritual transformation is that it is necessary, progressive, holistic, and originated by God. The Bible works in conjunction with other change agents and transformational Bible reading works in relationship with other spiritual disciplines. The design of the project considers ancient methods and current evangelical thought in determining that lectio divina is the best model for transformational Bible reading. It is argued that oral nature of ancient reading was an important component and that modern technology can facilitate a return to that practice.

An introductory study based on the elements of spiritual transformation and lectio divina was designed and presented to the church. An evaluation of the study indicated that the concept of transformational Bible reading was well received. Based on the experience, this paper concludes that the concept and practice can be successfully introduced to an evangelical congregation and it is expected that over time the value will be evident. There must be both ongoing emphasis and teaching to maintain the initial success.

Content Reader: Richard Peace, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Peace, Richard

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Horizon Community Church (Galt, Calif.); Lectio divina; Spiritual formation; Church renewal; Bible; Devotional use


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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