Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Senapatiratne, Timothy


The goal of this research project was to strengthen the church’s ability to effectively engage the culture and expand the kingdom of God. This project is important because American Churches have invested time and resources looking for ways to transform the culture. In the process many discovered that the culture has also transformed the church with mixed results. This research project showed that new churches continue to face difficulties engaging the culture without compromising the mission of the church or disrupting the unity of the body. Using the attractional or missional models, churches have struggled in the tension created by a complex and rapidly changing cultural environment. Similar to physicists discovering that light has both particle and wave properties (something of a paradox for researchers), the literature review demonstrated that the concept of culture has several paradoxical characteristics. The kingdom parables of Jesus formed the theological foundations of this project. This research showed that the kingdom of God has distinct cultural elements that are sometimes at odds with the world culture. The project has shown that a ministry model based on the concept of self-organizing systems is likely to utilize continual feedback to better understand and adapt in the cultural context. Combined with a coaching model of management this new model of community engagement is likely to produce sustainable growth and transformation. The adaptational model of ministry operates in the tension between the church culture, world culture, and kingdom culture. The model proposed that ministry activities iterate through four steps: continual feedback, communal reflection, specific action, and effective adjustment. These four steps engage both culture and discipleship as creative and transformative processes that enable the expansion of the kingdom of God.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis