|This dissertation examines church growth in urban poverty zones and develops a grounded theory to explain the data. Urban poverty zones are impoverished census tracts located in cities of 500,000 or more, and the term is synonymous with the term inner city as defined by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. Chapter 1 details the educational and theological concerns that drive the research and gives a brief overview of the research design.
Chapter 2 reviews the precedent literature from the fields of church growth, and urban ministry. This chapter also contains a theological section, which covers a theology of the city and a theology of the poor. It also contains a section which discusses the definition of urban poverty zone and inner city.
Chapter 3 reports the methodology used to explore church growth in urban poverty zones. Since very little existed in this field, the grounded theory method was used, and the procedures are explained in this chapter.
Chapter 4 relates the findings of the research including the data's interaction with predetermined categories and the development of new categories and subcategories of data. Chapter 4 also includes story lines for each category, and a story line for the main category of community restoration. This story line encompasses the grounded theory.
Chapter 5 presents the conclusions of the research including key insights, the grounded theory, implications related to church growth research and urban ministry research, applications for practice in urban poverty zones, and suggestions for further research.