Author(s)

Iain LyttleFollow

Date

5-2014

Department

Seminary

Degree

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Chair

Charlie Davidson

Keywords

Jerry Falwell, Church Planting, Analysis, Biographical, Qualitative, Grounded Theory, Planter, Charter, Thomas Road Baptist Church

Disciplines

Christianity | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Growth and Development | History of Christianity | Mass Communication | Organization Development | Practical Theology | Theory and Philosophy

Abstract

This research examines principles employed by Dr. Jerry Lamond Falwell between 1956 and 1966 and the early developmental stages of his church, Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC). The foundation built during these formative years facilitated precipitous growth within the church plant for decades, allowing TRBC to become one of America’s most prominent megachurches and to found Liberty University, the world’s largest evangelical university. As church plants are more likely to fail than to succeed, this research aimed to investigate key characteristics of a church planter who was highly successful, which can be replicated. Using primarily twenty-three interviews of TRBC congregants from these years, the writer qualitatively analyzed findings to report the principles Falwell employed. This research produced a grounded theory illustrating the principles a pastor, church planter, or leader should demonstrate to create synergy between themselves and their followers.