The problem this study addresses is that the Christian church in the postmodern west is in a condition of zero growth and even decline. Conventional strategies intended to reverse this condition have tended to focus on improved implementation of traditional methodologies of church growth. Despite the application of such strategies the church continues to decline, indicating the urgent need for additional approaches. Practical theology suggests such an additional approach: greater engagement with the local community. Certain churches have been identified whose congregations, acting, it is believed, under the leadership of the Spirit, are engaging their immediate communities in a wide variety of ways often with the result that people touched by the church respond with a new or renewed interest in the Christian faith and in some instances join or rejoin the Christian family. The implication, and the hypothesis of the study, is that widespread application of the practices of such community-engaging congregations, called “holistic” congregations, might have a positive impact in terms of growth in the wider church community. To determine the validity of this implication a small-scale inductive, empirical, effect-to-cause study was undertaken. Combining qualitative and quantitative research methods intended to identify the ethos of those churches that meet the developed criteria of “holistic” churches, as compared to a second group of “non-holistic” churches, the study addresses the question: Is it possible to discover the ethos of holistic churches with a view to reproducing that ethos in other churches? Analysis of the data gathered during the study identifies a number of specific characteristics shared by the holistic churches. In addition to suggesting strategies that may profitably be investigated and implemented by churches that wish to become, or become more, holistic in terms of their outreach ministry, the results also advocate the further study of holism as a possible key feature to the future of the Church.
Thesis (PhD (Practical Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2005.
Van Niekerk, A.S. (Attie)(OpenJournals Publishing, 2014-11-20)
The term missional has come into use over the last years in the Dutch Reformed Church in
South Africa and the Department of Science of Religion and Missiology of the Faculty of
Theology at the University of Pretoria. ...
Bester, Johan Paul; Meylahn, Johann-Albrecht(AOSIS Open Journals, 2019-08-06)
Several congregations in the workspace of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa are
losing viability and sustainability. This can be attributed to various factors, the most prominent
being isolation. Isolation is ...
Lebaka, M.E.K. (Morakeng Edward Kenneth)(OpenJournals Publishing, 2015-06-04)
The purpose of this study was to discover whether the integration of traditional African
religious music into Evangelical Lutheran liturgical church services, could effect a change
in member attendance and/or participation. ...