Robert Matton

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Divinity College


Kenneth R. Morgan




The Doctor of Ministry project thesis that follows is a product of many years experience, both in the local pastorate and in service to the wider church. It addresses its author's passion and conviction regarding the work of stewardship and congregational development. Its approach and direction is focused upon what the author maintains has been an often-neglected aspect of theology within the denominational tradition of The United Church of Canada-that which concerns the presence of the Spirit. In this light, the thesis' focus is turned towards a closer examination of congregational dynamics and the practice of stewardship where, respectively, the Spirit is held to dwell and work. Following the introductory first two chapters, the examination begins in the earnest in chapter three, where the author considers the Foundational Perspectives that underlie the thesis' consideration of community, the Spirit, and stewardship. Particularly in this chapter, theological and historical, as well as ecclesiastical and sociological insights, gleaned from many and diverse sources, are shared and expanded upon. In chapters four and five, the author intensifies the focus on the subjects of congregational dynamics and the practice of stewardship respectively. It is in these chapters that, supported by available statistical data, the findings of a "congregational leadership" survey involving the participation of churches in Dufferin-Peel and Halton Presbyteries, west of Toronto, are analysed and utilized, in assessing the situation, and prescribing measures and strategies that may enhance the health and vitality of these prospective "communities of faith." The conclusion reached by this study contends that, focusing at the local level, future efforts aimed at improving the state of local churches must be both holistic and comprehensive, as well as emphasizing the need to acknowledge and trust in the presence of the Spirit.

McMaster University Library

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