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Finding faith in fresh expressions of church: Implications for evangelism from a Methodist context

LINDRIDGE, STEPHEN,JOHN (2022) Finding faith in fresh expressions of church: Implications for evangelism from a Methodist context. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Durham Doctoral Thesis) - Accepted Version


Within the context of general denominational decline, this thesis sets out to explore how and why people are connecting and finding faith in Jesus Christ in a selected small number of Methodist fresh expressions of church. The aim of this thesis is to find people within these churches who display significant measurable change using a form of Hoge’s Intrinsic Religious Scale. Once this is achieved, a number of key factors are considered, noting common and disparate themes across the four areas. Firstly, what is the nature of any Christian background prior to their involvement with the fresh expression of church? Secondly, what are the triggers for their engagement with the fresh expression? Thirdly, what significant triggers amount to their respective responses towards faith in Christ? Finally, what are the establishing factors that help them remain and grow in faith within that church community?
This research is explored through a methodology of practical theology and tests a working hypothesis that the four conduits of Behaviour, Belonging, Belief, and Experience of God through the Centred Set are being practiced within these new forms of church. This active dynamic is strongly confirmed by the research, showing the formation of an effective foundation where anyone is welcome and a non-judgmental value is an operant dynamic within the communities studied. Thus, new ecclesial communities are presenting a space for apt and relevant methods of evangelism to be inhabited by the divine action of God the Holy Spirit.
The people studied are as eclectic as the communities from which they come, adding integrity to the model used and the theological principle of true diversity within the Body of Christ. Based on these findings, a future pedagogy of evangelism that does not invest in all four conduits through the Centred Set of Behaviour, Belonging, Belief, and Experience of God as a cooperant whole risks disregarding a cache of valuable insights into the reasons why some are finding faith in fresh expressions of church.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Theology and Ministry
Keywords:Evangelism, Fresh Expressions, Mission in context, Methodist, Methodism, Wesley Conduits to Christian faith, Belief, Belonging, Behaviour, Experience of God, Christian Conversion
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:22 Jun 2022 10:43

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