Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Adam McClendon


missional communities, DNA groups, discipleship, small groups, cell groups, engagement




Discipleship is the primary command given by Jesus to his disciples. The elements of discipleship growth are best carried out in smaller cell groups of ten to twenty people. In the model used by the researcher, these cell groups (called missional communities) are subdivided into groups of three comprised of the same gender. These subdivided groups are called DNA groups. It is within DNA groups that a more intimate environment is created for transparency, biblical learning, and accountability. The researcher found three primary obstacles to engagement in a previous iteration of DNA groups. Those three obstacles are overscheduling / busyness, an unwillingness to have difficult conversations, and a general incompetency in using the Bible alone for personal spiritual formation due to an over-dependence on premade curricula. The researcher did both a presurvey and a postsurvey. The intervention was a series of presentations on how to overcome each of the three obstacles. Comparison of the data from the surveys demonstrates that teaching alone is not enough to create measurable change in personal behavior. However, the missional community model contains within it the components necessary to create measurable change over a longer period of time.

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