Apostolic field methods of indigenous leadership training and empowerment among the Hopi and Navajo people

Daniel Peiffer
School of Divinity, Regent University
July, 2006


This Doctor of Ministry Project and Dissertation addresses the problems of relevance and effectiveness of our Western academic methods of Christian leadership training and education for Hopi, Tewa, and Navajo believers and identifies their preferred familiar tribal ways of learning. Concomitant with this problem is a low appeal and enrollment of potential native leaders towards ministry preparation. Through the research, most common native cultural ways of learning were identified and blend with the Biblical models of apostolic field leadership formation through spiritual fathering and mentoring. In the project, an integrated model of indigenous methods of leadership empowerment and training was developed and field-tested, with five emerging leaders in the context of the local native church, the natural place for ministry preparation. The experiment was monitored, tested, and evaluated by a consultation team made of three seasoned missionary workers in the Indian field and by involving the trainees, the primary recipients of this field-project, in an active participation and evaluation of parts in the process design and its ongoing enhancement. The training methodology and content of the leadership curriculum and its practical assignments were customized to the challenges of Christian leadership development amidst people living in a tribal setting. The conclusion of the project confirmed the value and validity of developing indigenous methods in training upcoming native leaders for Christian ministry. It affirmed them in their cultural identity and stimulated them to develop their own native ways of training with the Spirit's assistance, and reproduce themselves intentionally as spiritual parents in other emerging leaders. The dissertation explains the Biblical and theological basis for relational and experiential leadership training and empowerment.