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Original Research

Congregational analysis revisited: Empirical approaches

Malan Nel

HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies; Vol 65, No 1 (2009), 13 pages. doi: 10.4102/hts.v65i1.187

Submitted: 29 April 2009
Published:  13 August 2009

Abstract

The research problem of concern here is: What criteria should be used when congregations are analysed? Congregations as faith communities are defined variously. Discerning the local congregation as a defined and as an empirical subject plays a major role in answering the research question. The theological points of departure are that any measure of a local congregation has to deal with issues like faithfulness to the gospel and the missional identity and integrity of the congregation as a contextual faith community. The hypothesis is that, when theologically informed and motivated, congregations can and should be analysed in the process of continuing reformation. This article describes a number of approaches to and outcomes of empirical research related to congregational analysis. Follow-up research to be submitted for publication will deal with the missional identity, the ministerial role-fulfilment of the congregation, and a proposal to analyse these in a way that is theologically faithful and contextually relevant.

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Author affiliations

Malan Nel, Universiteit van Pretoria, South Africa

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