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Title: Unless you become like a child : psychological type and Christian becoming at Messy Church
Author: Aspland, Amanda Dawn
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 2323
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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This study addresses a major concern in the debate surrounding Messy Church regarding its ability to nurture Christian discipleship in people who rarely attend traditional church. As a work of practical theology, empirical data and theological reflection are combined in order to generate increased understanding concerning Messy Church as a crucible for discipleship as child-like becoming. Discipleship is conceptualised as a dual process of intersubjective relationship and experiential learning. The concept of intersubjectivity in relationship is informed by Martin Buber’s seminal work I and Thou. Experiential learning is approached through psychological type preferences, learning styles and basic value theory which come together in Conversational Learning Theory (Baker, Jensen and Kolb 2002). The Messy Church values of hospitality, creativity and all age inclusion are shown to be potentially conducive to Christian becoming, provided that dialectical tensions within learning and relating are balanced. A sample of 260 helpers and 203 adults from 41 different Messy Churches completed questions designed to assess attitudes towards Messy Church values, religious, spiritual and relational outcomes and psychological type. Age profiles suggested that helpers were predominantly over 50 and adult participants were predominantly in their 30s and 40s. Psychological type profiles were similar to previous studies of conventional church (predominantly sensing and judging). The significant predictors of outcomes among adults who are not regular attenders of conventional church were intuition, feeling and judging along with active participation and duration of attendance. Participation stood out as the main significant predictor of outcomes in regular church attenders. Among helpers, hospitality was significantly predicted by extraversion, socialisation and child-led learning, creativity was predicted by being female, young, a leader and child-led learning, and all age inclusion was predicted by being a leader. Recommendations are made based on a wider inclusion of difference and a balance of dialectical tensions in learning.
Supervisor: Village, Andrew ; Christie, Ann Sponsor: York St John University ; St Christopher's Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available