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Title: Theological imaginary and missional themes in UK church planting
Author: Lincoln, D. H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 9273
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines the theological imaginary of church planting practitioners currently involved in new church work in the UK using qualitative research methods in an exercise in practical theology. It adapts the concept of theological imaginary from Charles Taylor's concept of social imaginary, seeking to capture for this research how church planters imagine church, their expectations, and deeper theological ideas and images that undergird these expectations. This thesis examines how the theological imaginary of church-planting practitioners compares to themes in the missional and emerging church literature of the last 20 years. It examines the significance of cultural changes in so-called postmodernity and post-Christendom as two contextual elements in the imaginary significantly impacting current church planting. A survey of key, representative literature in the missional and emerging church movements in the areas of postmodernity, post-Christendom, missional and emerging church draws out the major theological themes that might be nourishing church planting and the theological imaginary on the ground. The research uses thematic analysis to uncover themes of theological imagination amongst church planters interviewed in the UK in order to determine whether themes from the empirical research data are reflective of those circulating in the missional and emerging church conversation seen in the literature. The themes identified from the fieldwork are compared to the themes in the literature to ascertain what concepts are functioning on the ground in practice. This thesis concludes by outlining a picture of the theological imaginary amongst missioners, particularly noting neglected theological resources, and makes exploratory suggestions for theological training.
Supervisor: Reed, E. ; Mewse, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mission ; Church Planting ; Post-Christendom ; Postmodernity ; Charles Taylor ; Mission Theology