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Abstract

This paper summarizes a Doctor of Ministry project thesis conducted in 2011 that introduced healthy accountability within growth-focused relationships to shape an emergent spiritual growth culture at the Carbondale Church of Christ. The theological basis for the intervention (1) uses Romans 12 to establish the Christian community, not the individual, as the ultimate vision of fully realized human life and (2) asserts that spiritual growth, following Alasdair MacIntyre’s definition of a practice, must involve virtues such that the means of growth are reflective of the desired ends of growth. The positive results demonstrate the effectiveness of healthy accountability, illuminate participants' motives for growth, highlights the importance of training, and reveals the need for ministerial structures when introducing new practices.

Author Bio

Stephen Shaffer has served as the senior minister of the Carbondale Church of Christ in Carbondale, Illinois since 2004. Shaffer also serves as director of coaching for Mission Alive in Dallas, Texas. He has a BS in Physics from Abilene Christian University, MS in Optics from the University of Rochester, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy from Amridge University, and MDiv and DMin degrees from Abilene Christian University. Shaffer has an interest in practical theology in the areas of spiritual formation, church revival, life coaching, and church leadership. Shaffer holds thirteen U.S. patents from his work at the Eastman Kodak Company.