An assessment of the Congregational Discipling Model : what's working? what's not? directions for the future
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The Congregational Discipling Model (CDM) is a way of organizing churches that has been developed for use with Mennonite Church USA congregations. This Doctor of Ministry research dissertation seeks to understand the history of the CDM and to assess how the model has been implemented and is working in congregations that have reorganized using the CDM.
The researcher is an ordained minister in Mennonite Church USA who has served in pastoral leadership in congregations from both of the denominations that became Mennonite Church USA (the Mennonite Church and the General Conference Mennonite Church) as well as congregations in the newly formed denomination. The story of the researcher's journey in pastoral ministry in Mennonite congregations is included in this project dissertation since this story provides some of the context for the research that was done. A chapter is also included that looks at how Family Systems Theory helps to inform the researcher's perspective on how congregations function-and also how the researcher functions in congregational leadership.
The research project used the Success Case Method as a research model. Research participants responded to an online survey regarding their experience of restructuring in their congregations. Respondents from those congregations that scored highest on the survey were then interviewed by the researcher in order to further assess how the model was working. Following these interviews, the researcher created an Impact Profile for each of the congregations whose leaders were interviewed. These Impact Profiles are included in this project dissertation. The Impact Profiles are followed by reflections on how the CDM specifically-and Mennonite ecclesiology more generally-fits with the ecclesiology of the missional church movement. Some concluding thoughts and observations regarding the implications of the research for Mennonite Church USA leaders, consultants, and congregations that may want to work at reorganizing congregational structures in the future are presented at the end of the project dissertation.