Renewal and Transformation in Grace Communion International, Formerly Worldwide Church of God
This dissertation focuses on the renewal that has taken place in Worldwide Church of God (WCG), a denomination that experienced so far-reaching a renewal that a new name, Grace Communion International (GCI), was required to reflect its new realities. The research shows that members now have a new understanding of who God is, who they are and what their purpose in life is. This, in turn, has led to new administrative structures and a desire to engage the larger culture in new ways. The dissertation proposes three areas of special focus, which can become the foundation for a curriculum to equip pastors in the Caribbean to be able to further anchor and advance the benefits of the renewal.
The research employed in this study utilizes qualitative data methodology, employing semi-structured interviews and participant observation for data collection. Data analysis led to the generation of hypotheses as to how lessons learned through participants in the renewal can be used to shape and target the equipping process for pastors. A secondary focus is on contextual issues within the Caribbean that pastors need to be equipped to effectively deal with. Review of literature in four fields—church renewal, social movement theory, Trinitarian theology and leadership—informed and supplemented the research process.
After a thorough analysis of the research, the results indicate that the GCI renewal can best be advanced in the Caribbean by giving emphasis to Trinitarian theology, to the cultivation of healthy identity among pastors and members, and to the development of a capacity to provide mission-focused leadership to both formal organizations and informal movements. These three findings were then employed to help target, shape and provide content for the equipping process.
This study concludes with some remarks and recommendations that focus on how the church is a social movement of people serving God’s Kingdom in the present age. More specifically, these recommendations also include how renewal requires attention to both the sociological complexities of people and the theological-spiritual realities of responding to Kingdom initiatives. Specific recommendations focused on personal, corporate, structural, missional and conceptual dimensions of renewal.
Mentor: Elizabeth L. Glanville
Doctor of Missiology
Glanville, Elizabeth L.
Church renewal, Grace Communion International, Caribbean Area
Missions and World Christianity
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