The real world ministry problem addressed in this dissertation is, ‘Can small, urban congregations flourish?’ Against all odds, small churches continue to exist in the city. In order to discover why, I will collect and assess primary evidence from in-depth, study of one congregation (mine) and confidential interviews of pastors of ten small autonomous churches in the San Francisco Bay Area. I will also use secondary evidence from relevant literature, statistics and additional surveys.
In chapter one, I will demonstrate how small, urban churches are being negatively affected by a current global paradigm shift that is creating a backlash of responses from pastors, denominations, divergent groups, and congregations.
In chapter two, I will show how five church experts offer five ways for a small community of believers to utilize unique urban opportunities and challenges.
In chapter three, I will reveal how challenges in an urban context contribute to the sustainability of small, urban congregations as they intersect faith with practice.
In chapter four, I will establish a theological basis for small congregations
potential to flourish with an integral, incarnational, dynamic, missional purpose.
In chapter five, I will explain how a personal in-depth interview is the best method for gathering information for this type of project.
In chapter six, I will present first hand evidence that some small, urban churches are flourishing. And in chapter seven, I will present my plan for reaching and invigorating small, urban congregations.