Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

James R. Wibberding

Second Advisor

Tara J. VinCross

Third Advisor

S. Joseph Kidder

Abstract

Problem

In a 2010 missional assessment, the Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church was made aware of a missional blind spot in relation to the external needs of its ministry context. A 2017 MinistryInsight.com Priorities Report also identified the region's desire for warmth and friendship from religious communities as a top ministry preference. In a 2018 effort to begin addressing these needs, Collegedale’s pastoral staff chose "Christ has called us to Make Friends," an actionable expression of Jesus' commission to make disciples. In light of these factors, the Collegedale Church needs a relational catalyst to encourage attenders and members to make friends for Jesus.

Method

In this study the Ebenezer Model of Missional Prayer was created to be a relational catalyst for discipleship and tested through a series of eight Ebenezer LifeGroup lessons. The purpose of this ministry intervention was to increase participant’s missional instincts; specifically, awareness of God’s presence, responsiveness to His voice, and interpersonal courage in making friends for Christ through listening and prayer. Group participants experimented with prayer as communion and prayer as commission through the four missional HELP practices of Heeding, Engaging, Listening, and Prayer. The Ebenezer Model of Missional Prayer and Ebenezer LifeGroup intervention were evaluated through an online survey, before and after focus groups, and exit interviews.

Results

Eleven out of 14 recruits attended the opening focus group and orientation. Nine people completed the eight-week Ebenezer LifeGroup. Members in this study experienced a clear and identifiable shift toward a more missional outlook in relation to their awareness of God, responsiveness to His voice, and interpersonal courage for Christ. They grew in their willingness to minister to people through the HELP Practices of Heeding, Engaging, Listening, and Prayer.

Conclusions

Through the Ebenezer Model of Missional Prayer there is an opportunity for church goers to grow in their courage to make disciples as they learn to minister through listening and prayer. The Ebenezer Model is effective for new and established believers. It affirms prior discipleship experiences and provides tools for greater effectiveness and confidence in disciple making.

Subject Area

Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church ; Discipling (Christianity) ; Mission of the church

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