This phenomenon on the frontier could be called Prairie DNA

This entry is part 84 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

It is rare in this twofold expression of ministry for worship and the discipleship system to be in balance. Normally one will gain a priority and the other will be neglected. When worship has a priority over the discipleship system, then proclamation or preaching will be perceived as the primary means of evangelism.[1] The role of proclamation has been prioritized over the discipleship system in the Church in the centuries since Constantine.

            As described in Chapter 1, conditions on the American frontier allowed for a great evangelical success through proclamation. These new faith communities consisted of a worship service and a very simple discipleship system in a highly relational environment.[2] A membership increase of one to four million members from 1860-1920 coincides with the end of the requirement that all Methodists participate in class meeting as a condition of membership.[3] This phenomenon on the frontier could be called Prairie DNA; it is evangelism with an emphasis on worship and proclamation while minimizing the work of a discipleship system.





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]For a statistical example of dissatisfaction with the long term results of a proclamation priority for evangelism, see Jan David Hettinga, Follow Me: Experience the Loving Leadership of Jesus (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1996), 101-104, 111-117.

[2]Usually no more than Sunday School, and often merely conversations before and after worship and other events. This model continues to the present day in many small churches which are no longer effective at making disciples. Cf. Craig Miller, NextChurch.Now, 117-119.

[3]Charles Edward White, “The Rise And Decline Of The Class Meeting,” Methodist History 40, no. 4 (July 2002), C:\Users\drdku\OneDrive\Desktop\Architect of Ideas\AoI WRITING\(http:\\~cwhite\cm.pdf (accessed June 13, 2007), 6.

Series Navigation<< The smallest churches in the world are worship driven; often worship is their only significant program.The Great Commission of Matthew defines evangelism through a discipleship system; in Mark, the emphasis is upon proclamation. >>
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