Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Barnett College of Ministry & Theology


Department of Christian Ministries and Religion

Primary Advisor

Dr. J Melvyn Ming

Second Advisor

Dr. Donald Ross

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan J. Ehler


The church is losing influence in America. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the decline in the American church. Polarized on issues of race, politics, masks, and vaccines, church leaders struggled to unite the people of God. Post-pandemic, how do churches and church leaders make more disciples, develop more leaders, and plant more churches in a post-Christian, de-churched, and unchurched culture? The focus of this doctoral dissertation is to present the philosophy of people becoming the church as a solution to the decline of the American church. I discovered the philosophy of people becoming the church over twenty years ago when I planted newlife – a church in the Greater Seattle area. This dissertation is an in-depth study of people becoming the church at newlife and the findings from qualitative research to make people becoming the church more effective in the future. The project concludes with people-becoming-the-church principles that can be adapted and applied to other churches in other contexts. The five people-becoming-the-church principles are as follows: blur the line between people and pastors, creativity sparks evangelism, dive into the community to solve problems, the church can gather anywhere and at any time, and church buildings are assets to the community and are used all week.