Original Research

Congregational analysis revisited: Empirical approaches

Malan Nel
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 65, No 1 | a187 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v65i1.187 | © 2009 Malan Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2009 | Published: 13 August 2009

About the author(s)

Malan Nel, Universiteit van Pretoria, South Africa

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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.


congregational analysis; worship; empirical research; faith communities; reformation


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