Empirical research and congregational analysis: some methodological guidelines for the South African context

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Abstract:

Empirical research is an inescapable part of responsible congregational analysis. The first question pertains to the value and contribution that empirical research has made to the process of congregational analysis. This article will briefly refer to such contributions. Such analysis can be approached from many different angles and in many different ways. The question remains: Which principles and guidelines should be taken into account when we do such an analysis? On top of all of this is the challenge to do it within the South African context. What should a congregational analysis which will help South African congregations look like? In the search for some methodological guidelines for congregational analysis for the South African context there will, firstly, be a discussion of a number of theological points of departure for a congregational analysis. Following on that will be the methodological guidelines for congregational analysis and, thirdly, guidelines for the South African context will be discussed. The argument in the article ends with a critical reflection of the markers discussed, and a look at the road ahead. Empirical research is an inescapable part of responsible congregational analysis. The first question pertains to the value and contribution that empirical research has made to the process of congregational analysis.