Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Brian Sandifer


Discipleship, Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20


Christianity | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The purpose of this qualitative study was to introduce, engage, and implement discipleship concepts and practices at Breakthrough COGBF to increase attendance, spiritual engagement, retention, and membership among men. The study included comparing the biblical concept of discipleship cited in Matthew 28:18-20, the Great Commission, with contemporary perceptions held by male parishioners. The study included the participation of three parishioners from a predominately African American congregation. Theological and theoretical foundations for the study of discipleship were discussed along with current trends. Theological foundations included an analysis of Matthew 28:18-20 revealing that the imperative to make disciples was achieved by doing the continuous action of each participle, “going,” “baptizing,” and “teaching.” Jesus promised to be with the disciples along the way, and the same implication exists today. Other theological passages included Luke 10, John 14, Acts, and 2 Timothy 2, defining love, obedience, teaching, and leadership as hallmarks of a disciple. Old Testament passages such as Genesis 1 and Exodus 18 referenced discipleship in the creation of man in God’s image and Moses’ empowerment of others to provide godly leadership. Theoretical foundations cited Obedience-based and Participatory models of discipleship as effective in training men to disciple other men. Semi-structured interviews, surveys, a focus group, and observation guided data collection for the qualitative portion of this study. Data was coded and analyzed, resulting in the emergence of significant individual and co-occurring themes. This qualitative study determined that discipleship engagement was positively impacted by authenticity, leadership, teachability, obedience, and transformation. Recommendations for future research were provided.