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Doctor of Ministry Program: A Brief Update

Hello everyone. Many may be wondering what’s going on with the shepherd’s blog and asking why I haven’t posted content in a while. I wanted to hop on really quick just to give a few updates. First, I haven’t given up on the shepherd’s blog. This blog was an idea that emerged from a desire to communicate and cast vision with my congregation; to further develop the spirituality of my congregants; and to share my pastoral thoughts with my readers. All these things remain true for me and are motivations for continuing the shepherd’s blog. I firmly believe that the church must use every method possible to communicate God’s word and desire to form a new community in Christ. So, this blog serves that purpose: communicating God’s word, forming Christ’s community of faith, and sharing pastoral thoughts and vision.

However, as you navigate to the blog, you notice there hasn’t been a lot of posts. The major reason for this is that I am currently in the last phases of my Doctor of Ministry program at Liberty University School of Divinity. The process has been arduous and time-consuming. Apart from my pastoral responsibilities, much of my time is given to this thesis. I am enjoying the process; using my problem focus and project intervention to help me further enhance the ministry of Miracle Temple Church of God in Christ. I will share a little bit about my project:

Discipleship is a continuing problem within congregations. Pastors and ministry leaders are constantly trying to figure out how they can help their congregants become spiritually mature disciples of Christ. There is a battle between traditional and contemporary models of discipleship. At Miracle Temple Church of God in Christ, our primary discipleship offering is Sunday school. That’s most churches, right? But the problem is that Sunday school is declining. This decline didn’t just start either since COVID-19 became the new norm. The decline of Sunday school has been an issue for quite some time. The lack of interest is evident as you see minimal numbers of people in Sunday school.

However, discipleship is the call of the church. Jesus told his disciples to make disciples of all nations by teaching God’s word, baptizing, and evangelizing (Matt. 28:16-20). If discipleship is the priority of the church, then it means the church makes spiritual formation its goal. Every believer becoming more like Jesus Christ is the key. But discipleship facilitates the process of helping people become like Jesus. So, my project is focusing on helping my congregation become intentional about becoming more like Jesus (spiritual formation) through transformative discipleship (i.e., Christian education, Sunday school, etc.).

To address the problem related to my research, I am implementing a four-phase approach:

  1. Focus Group – I called all of my Sunday school teachers together for an honest dialogue on the state of discipleship and spiritual formation in our congregation. I just listened and took notes on everything my leaders said. A lot came up and out of this.
  2. Discipleship Assessment – To better learn where our congregation was with our discipleship, I used the discipleship pathway assessment by lifeway to assess where my congregantion is.
  3. Spiritual Formation Bible study – I created a three-day teaching curriculum based on the eight signposts derived from the assessment and categorized them under our mission statement Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples.
  4. Survey – Finally, once the Bible study is completed, everyone will submit a final survey which will assess impressions on the goal to motivate intentionality in spiritual formation and discipleship.

So, if you notice I’m not posting in the blog, it’s because I am probably writing long paragraphs and pages on the state of Discipleship and spiritual formation within my congregation. I will be done very soon. I expect to graduate in May 2022. Continue to pray for me as I go through this process. But pray that God will use my research and writing to strengthen the members of my congregation as we progress toward transformative discipleship that fosters Christlikeness!

I will be back soon. Blessings.

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