Several congregations in the workspace of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa are losing viability and sustainability. This may be attributed to various factors, the most prominent being isolation. Isolation is defined here as the inability of some congregations to move away from maintenance and an inward focus to making necessary adjustments on the way to a dimension of outward focus. While commitment and enthusiasm are present in the work of all congregations, some find it difficult to adapt their established ideas and in some cases obsolete customs. Other congregations have made the necessary adjustments by defining themselves as missional.
Congregations who are not adapting, are aware of the decline in the congregation, but still believe that everything will be all right: If we can just start doing things the way they used to be done. We were quite a successful congregation back then. The inward focus of these congregations defines their own need for survival as the main concern of the congregation. Despite knowing the possible dangers and destructive tendencies, these congregations keep making the same decisions. Members focus more on their congregational identity and lose their vision as congregation of Jesus Christ.
In congregations where constructive change occurs, the focus moves to undertaking congregational ministries. The congregation not only gains insight into her own situation, but also becomes aware of God’s calling for that specific congregation in a specific context. The focus shifts from the own situation and needs to the needs outside the workspace of the specific congregation. The whole ministry then adjusts accordingly. These congregations discover their own unique spirituality and begin to ask: For Who do we exist? This research was undertaken to expand Osmer’s four questions of practical theology by using the modelling process of Neurolinguistic Programming so that congregations may succeed in making the necessary adjustments.