Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Jeff Johnsen


Church Membership, Church Covenant, Church Revitalization, Church Decline, Regenerate Membership


Christianity | Practical Theology


The local church finds itself in crisis and the decline in attendance and membership in churches is undeniable. The thesis project establishes that there is more to being a Christian than identifying as one. To reverse the declining trajectory, churches must understand what a church is, what a church member is, and the importance of regenerate church membership. The premise of this project thesis was that if the pastor preached on the church’s historic covenant, it would serve as a starting point for the revitalization of the declining church by affecting the member’s understanding of the church and their role in it. The project drew inspiration from the Bible, church history, and pre-existing literature to develop the conceptual framework. The resulting project was to create a desire in the congregation to return to a biblical ideal, create a new way of thinking, and spur internal change in the participants. The project thesis aims to answer the question, “Does knowing and understanding the covenant of Hillcrest Baptist Church make a difference in our efforts to revitalize a declining church?” The project measured any potential change through pre-study and post-study questionnaires. The ultimate result of this project thesis was that the participants expected no change following the study’s conclusion. The project thesis came to an unintended outcome, but it lays the foundations for other churches that could potentially follow or develop the study further.