The reality for the Christian churches in the U.S. is that congregations are declining in attendance. Local churches are being closed every year, and the people called Christians are decreasing in their discipleship practices more than in previous years. However, the reason for this disgraceful reality is not because people have stopped attending church; rather, it is because there are now fewer Christians. Unfortunately, churches in their effort to make disciples prefer to buy a curriculum that, in the end, does not reflect the needs and realities of their own context. More than ever, the Christian industry in the U.S. has benefited from discipleship and at the same time discipleship for many churches has become one more item to buy, instead of a contextual endeavor. The various contexts for churches in the U.S. require an alternative approach to this reality.
The purpose of this dissertation is to propose a contextualized discipleship system that could be an alternative to solve this reality that the church in the XXI Century in the United States is facing. The methodology used throughout this work will include church history, sociology, empirical data, demographic studies, discipleship surveys, and research in discipleship assessment. The work in this dissertation will disclose the way certain faith communities in the early, medieval, and modern period developed a fruitful contextualized discipleship model. Moreover, I will look at the role of contextualization in discipleship and then provide a process to develop a contextualized discipleship system. In this proposal, I am not attempting to present a perfect formula for a successful discipleship model; rather, I offer a new way of looking at our Christian history, a way that claims discipleship regardless of the context of the local church. My approach to discipleship is distinctive not only for providing a research component but also for including biblical and historical grounds, principles, resources, practical ideas, and a clear methodology of development for disciple-making to take place in any context. Contextualized discipleship may be an alternative to any church who longs to make disciples in its own context.
Dr. James Lee
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Rangel, David, "Contextualized Discipleship: A Catalyst System for the XXI Century" (2020). Doctor of Ministry Projects and Theses. 23.