Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Jeffrey Mayfield


transactional ministry, missional, inward focus, rural church, spiritual growth, discipleship, sharing the love of Jesus, guests, revitalization, transformation


Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Small rural churches tend to have an inward-focus mindset fueled by the need for self-preservation and survival. This transactional ministry mindset negatively impacts sharing the love of Christ with others, culminating in apathetic attitudes toward church functionality. The problem this DMin action research project sought to address is the inward focus of First Baptist Church of Ravenswood members. The church needs to improve its evangelism and discipleship efforts, embrace sharing their love of Christ with others, begin engaging guests on a meaningful level, and consider facility upgrades. Members were reminded of the importance of demonstrating their love of Christ to others and taking advantage of evangelism and discipleship opportunities through role-playing exercises. This DMin action research project involved hosting a training program called “Others First: A Visual Roadmap 4 Transformation.” This program generated support for a strategic plan that addresses four areas of church operations. Thirty-two participants were involved in the training, representing half of all member families. Pre-and post-training assessments and group discussions were focal points. The goal was to shift participants’ inward-focused mindset toward a transformational mindset emphasizing soul care. A positive correlation between training and discussion resulted in a renewed sense of purpose and vision for the church. The church adopted a declaration supporting the revitalization effort and appointed a vision committee to oversee implementation. This DMin action research project will assist other rural congregations that have found themselves with similar inward-focus problems.