Our Story of Dwelling in the Word

The Word of God, as I have described it, and dwelling in every aspect of the Word, was central to the DITB project. Each of the first six RT meetings began with a Dwelling in the Word exercise.[1] We dwelt in John 14:15-24 for the first three sessions, and then dwelt in John 15:1-17 for the last three sessions. One male and one female would read the passage out loud and then we would break into dyads to discuss what we heard in the text. After that we would gather as a large group and everyone would report to the large group what their conversation partner had said. Finally, we would have a large group discussion about what we had heard. This process took at least forty-five minutes of our two-hour session. It was a struggle for some of the team members to see the relevance of the exercise, because (1) it took up almost half of our meeting time, and (2) it did not explicitly contribute anything tangible to the described goals of the group. This was part of our learning process and I will report on that in later sections.

Chapters two and three have provided a theoretical and theological framework for the DITB project. It has become evident that participatory action research was a necessary methodology to pursue the question of how an increased awareness and understanding of the social Trinity might impact the ideation and praxis of spiritual formation in suburban ELCA congregations. I will now turn my attention, in the next chapter, to the specific methodology and design of this project.


[1] Dwelling in the Word is a specific exercise developed and utilized by Church Innovations. I will describe it more fully in the next section. See Keifert, Testing the Spirits: How Theology Informs the Study of Congregations; Ellison and Keifert, Dwelling in the Word.