Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
church stigma, reputation, healing, revitalization, evangelism, health
Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Ward, Ryan Shane, "Church Stigma: Healing a Wounded Reputation in the Community" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3788.
MWBC developed a pernicious stigma in their community that consumed their reputation, making it virtually impossible to witness because of the negativity encompassing the church. If the stigma was not remedied, it was apparent that the church would struggle to be a light for Christ in the community and keep its doors open. The methodology of this research project successfully designed a model that revived the church and restored its reputation in the community. Sources on revitalization are abundant, but unearthing sources on how a church might restore a stigma or wounded reputation in the community to a holy character are scarce. Suppose a church has offended a community through ungodly actions such as church splits, mediocre leadership, or an immature congregation. In that case, winning them back is immensely problematic because surmounting offended contentions are hard as bars of a castle (Pro 18:19). This research project designed a model that would both revive the church and restore its reputation in the community. The methodology has nineteen detailed steps which describe how to accomplish these goals. This pragmatic model fits every church, small or large, revived or needing revitalization, and primarily focuses on producing a holy character in the community, which will cause the locals to want to attend the church. The construction of the model came from seven fundamental biblical principles, combined with parts of revitalization and evangelical models, with one special ingredient: a revelation from the Lord about evangelizing for the church in one’s local community.