Call for Case Studies into the Role of Practice in Mission
The Centre for Research is undertaking a new study and looking for people and organisations that would be willing to take part in the project.
Young people are usually expected or invited to take part in Christian practices after they identify as Christian: whether that’s prayer, service, reading scripture or hospitality. But some communities, churches and projects are turning this around, and making spaces for young people to participate in these practices as part of their ongoing support for and work with them.
We want to understand this better, so that we can help the wider Church understand the role and value of Christian practice within outreach and discipleship.
Some call this spiritual experimentation, others would frame it as Christian practice, or spiritual disciplines. We are taking a broad view of these related ideas, so that we can capture a wide range of current activity. There is no definitive list of what counts as a practice, but we are drawing from the following definition of Christian practices as ‘things Christian people do together over time in response to, and in the light, of God’s active presence for the life of the world’ (Bass, Dykstra and Wuthnow, 1997)
This could include any of the following:
keeping the sabbath – discernment – forgiveness – healing – worship/singing - meditation/fasting – Bible study - acts of service and justice – hospitality - honouring the body – lament and grief – creativity – friendship – truth and testimony - simplicity
An example would be Prayer Spaces in Schools: where all children and young people in a class are invited to participate in prayer, regardless of their faith background.
As part of this study we would like to undertake some case studies of churches, organisations or projects that have explicitly included or promoted practices, as part of their work with young people who are not Christians. This approach, and any thinking around it, may be more or less well developed, so you don’t have to consider yourself an expert! We are just interested in hearing about what you are doing, why, and what you are learning through this.
Please get in touch if you can point us toward any examples of this kind of approach, or if you are doing this yourself. You can take part in the research anonymously if this is preferable, and we can then send you more information on what it would mean to participate in the study. We would also be keen to hear from anyone who has conducted research or developed thinking in this area and would be interested in being part of our advisory group.