Spiritlunking biblical caves : probing the depths of context for narraphors that support transformation and the practice of doing small things with great love.

Date of Award


Document Type



Drew Theological School

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


The purpose of this study was to identify a group of twenty-something adults to help guide and develop a sermon series to transition a congregation through the grief of losing a primary staff member. The study was originally focused on using the advisory group to develop a preaching style effective for the age group from which the advisory committee emerged. During the course of the study, the church experienced traumatic loss. The study shifted focus to support the collective grief of the congregation and transition to a new person to replace the absent staff member. The advisory group met face-to-face as well as through video conferencing, which was a new experience for the advisory group. The congregation overall successfully transitioned to a new staff member, yet a small though significant group of leaders could not adequately deal with loss, causing additional trauma in the context of the congregation, that, by the end of the project, continued unresolved.