Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Joe Easterling


Discipleship, Leadership, Church Growth, Disciple-Making, Church Health


Christianity | Practical Theology | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


It is difficult to function as one unified group in an association of churches where autonomy is central. The ninety-one churches that call Converge Northeast their association desire to start churches, strengthen them, and send people into the harvest field. However, this group of capable churches and leaders has been unable to sustain church health, lacking church growth. After bringing in new leadership, there has been a resurgence of relationship building and vision casting. What might this group of churches need to become vibrant disciple-making churches? Unity among autonomous churches will require that leaders are on the same page and that congregants are trained and prepared. Such a task will require buy-in from all stakeholders. The first step is to help stakeholders see the need. Establishing a pertinent dialogue with stakeholders will create an appetite for fruitful discipleship. With a clear vision toward what this association can become, we will strengthen churches, start new churches, and send men and women into the world with the good news of Christ. The purpose of this study will be to determine if an agreed-upon definition of discipleship will increase unity within an association of churches.