This project has been designed to measure areas of personal transformation in the lives of participant members of First Presbyterian Church of Tacoma, Washington. Participants in this project will be measured in terms of both attitude and behavior.
The standard for change or transformation is the Covenant with Christ Agreement. This Covenant Agreement is a six-point call to commitment for the church family of First Presbyterian Church. The six points of the Covenant Agreement include: consistent weekly attendance at a worship service, tithing of ten percent of one’s income, a consistent devotional life of prayer and Scripture reading, participation in fellowship outside of Sunday morning, volunteer ministry within the church or out in the community, and inviting the unchurched into relationship with the Lord and meaningful church life. The participants in the project will be asked to not only change their behavior regarding these six points, but also their attitudes about these areas of church life.
The Covenant with Christ Agreement was devised as a means of challenging the congregation with high expectations of Christian lifestyle behavior. A crucial part of the question this project is based on hinges on high expectations regarding participant behavior resulting in transformation of behavior conforming to the six points of the Covenant Agreement.
The members of the church family invited to participate in this project were all actively involved in the One Another small groups of First Presbyterian Church. A key component of the project is to measure transformation of attitude and behavior within a relational faith community context. The small groups provide the appropriate venue for this transformation to take place.
Finally, an understanding of the sociological and ideological cultural influences on American Christians is important for project success. A comprehension of the theological and historical background of First Presbyterian Church is also key. These influences figure significantly in shaping attitude and behavior. They all add to a worldview that can hinder or help enable transformation.
There are three explicit objectives of this project. The project is designed to determine:
1. If clearly defined high expectations can contribute to change in participant attitude and behavior regarding the Covenant with Christ Agreement.
2. If a small group context is an effective environment for transformation.
3. If the Covenant with Christ Agreement developed by First Presbyterian Church leadership can contribute to renewed vitality in the life of this urban congregation. The question detailed in the forthcoming chapter and the subsequent project paper as designed, researched, implemented, and analyzed are meant to express and fulfill these objectives.