HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422
NEL, Malan. Congregational analysis revisited: empirical approaches. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2009, vol.65, n.1. ISSN 2072-8050.
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.
Keywords : congregational analysis; worship; empirical research; faith communities; reformation.