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Frank Liesen

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Location: Kandern, Germany

Institution: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Contact: Homepage E-Mail

My dissertation includes a case study of two Pentecostal churches in Germany. One migrant church plant led by a second-generation Ghanian, and a new Pentecostal church plant led by a native German.

Liesen, Frank R, Conversion in Germany: An Analysis of Patterns of Diffusion in Evangelical Church Planting (2010–2020). Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2021.


This dissertation argues that common and unique patterns of diffusion are the causes for the process of transformational conversion across three church plants in Germany. The research findings of this qualitative multi-case study disclose five common diffusional patterns: multi-faceted transmission, caring translation, clear turnaround, deep transformation, and continual retransmission. A total of nineteen common and divergent sub-themes in gospel diffusion add to a rich description of the phenomenon of conversion in relation to each church’s ministry.

Chapter one introduces the thesis, the pertinent academic literature, and the research approach to identify patterns of diffusion in German church plants. A theological assessment of conversion and diffusion in the New Testament supplements the Diffusional Matrix of Conversion in preparation for the research analysis.

Chapter two portrays the historical context of each case study church. This historical perspective enriches the understanding of the local phenomenon of conversion and diffusion by disclosing the missionary activities of each church plant as a salient expression of their correlating evangelical movements: Migrant mission endeavors, new Pentecostal churches, and American mission efforts along with globally active church planting organizations in Germany.

Chapters three to five delve into a thick description of research findings in each case according to the sequence of the actual field research: Hope Center in Berlin, Gospel Church Munich, and ConnectKirche Erfurt. The analysis of research findings across cases culminates in the cross-case analysis in chapter six, which renders an explanation for the primary research question and reveals common and divergent patterns of gospel diffusion. Finally, chapter seven comprises the conclusion with relevant implications, potential applications, suggestions for further research, and a final outlook.