Tag Archives: elca

Paper | A Missiology for the ELCA Suburban Congregation by Steve Thomason

This is the paper I wrote for CL8965 Missiology and the Missional Church with Craig Van Gelder in the Spring of 2012. ELCA Suburban Church_Thomason

A Missiology for the ELCA Congregation in the United States Suburban Context by Steve Thomason

 A Term Paper presented to Professor Craig Van Gelder

Luther Seminary

As a Requirement in Course CL8965 Missiology and the Missional Church

St. Paul, Minnesota

2012

Introduction

A new television show appeared on ABC this season. It’s called Suburgatory. Here is the show description: read more

A Missional Imagination for ELCA Polity by Steve Thomason

A Missional Imagination for ELCA Polity (pdf version)

Framing a Missional Polity for the ELCA by Steve Thomason

A Term Paper Presented to Dr. Craig Van Gelder | Luther Seminary

As a Requirement in Course LD8525 Congregational Leadership |St. Paul, Minnesota | 2011

Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the current polity of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and make suggestions for how the ELCA could modify its polity to embody a missional ecclesiology. Any discussion of this type is a hermeneutical endeavor and requires the proper framing of horizons before any fruitful interaction can take place. I will first briefly trace the historical roots of the ELCA from Martin Luther to the present and identify how this historical narrative has framed its ecclesiological horizon. I will then analyze the current structure of the ELCA as articulated in its constitution and identify significant incongruities between this formal structure and the reality of its informal structure and struggles. I will then briefly articulate the emerging missional ecclesiology in order to bring it into conversation with the ELCA. Finally, I will make some suggestions as to how the ELCA could address its incongruities and make polity changes that would align it within a missional ecclesiology. read more

Lutherans in the Suburbs

The Deep in the Burbs Research Project is a story of a particular place in Midwest suburbia. It was necessary to pursue this research in a specific location, through participatory action research within three neighboring congregations, because it is my assumption that a reasonably adequate Christian theology is done in, with, under, against, and for the local congregation. To know anything truly, especially how God is at work in the world, is to study the particularities of it. This research project asks how an increased awareness and understanding of the social Trinity might impact the ideation and praxis of spiritual formation in suburban ELCA congregations. This implies, and I assert, that it might have far different effects on people in different contexts. Therefore, I must limit my inquiry to a specific group of people in a specific place. There are two classifications in which I will describe the people in this study and frame the question. The first is suburban. The second is Lutheran. read more

How the ELCA is Situated for a Missional Imagination

The three congregations represented in the RT are unique, but they are also similar in that they are members of the ELCA. Let us now turn our attention to the ELCA and explore how the ELCA context both contributes to and hinders the communicative space created in the DITB project and projected for the future of the missional church. One of the greatest dangers that the church faces in the twenty-first century is the increasing polarization between various factions along various ideological lines and the violence that often accompanies the disagreements between them. I have already noted, in the previous section, that the pedagogical shift toward communicative action is necessary for a missional imagination for spiritual formation in the local congregation that will find a third way between these dichotomies. I will further argue in the next section that the move toward a postfoundational theology will help the church hold the tension between these extremes and find a third way that leads to the peace of God in the world. Here, I will argue that the ELCA is well positioned to embrace the paradoxical tension held in the communicative space between polar extremes. read more