Constructing a Theological Framework That Revitalizes the Missional Nature of Churches of Christ in South Australia

Abstract

This thesis addresses the need for a theological framework that revitalizes the missional nature of Churches of Christ in South Australia. The problem identified within this ministry context was a lack of clear theological principles that informed a common understanding of identity for missional engagement. The purpose of the project was to create a study guide that informs common theological commitments and grounds congregations for missional vitality. A research and development team made up of seven Church of Christ ministers from different backgrounds was assembled to design a curriculum that addressed the problem. Through eight two-hour sessions over four months in the first half of 2022, the team discussed a theological framework that could revitalize mission. This was informed by a Trinitarian theological rationale introduced as perichoresis. The conceptual framework for discussions included (1) the historical and theological foundations of Churches of Christ, (2) a Trinitarian doctrine of God presented as perichoresis, (3) contemporary congregational practices, and (4) a theological proposal for re-imagining mission. The team developed a study guide that promotes a dynamic theological framework for practicing theology and revitalizing the missional nature of the church. The artifact, Movement & Identity: Participating in the Life of God’s Mission, was evaluated by the team and members of Church of Christ congregations in South Australia. The curriculum is designed to assist participants with practical theological interpretation through (1) discovering new ideas about God in the context of Churches of Christ traditions, (2) engaging with contextual theology in community, (3) participating in God’s mission, and (4) reflecting on how God’s agency transforms the church. The development of the study guide will stimulate a practical theological framework that promotes dynamic theological dialogue and missional vitality for Churches of Christ in South Australia

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