If there is one cry from today's congregation members that rises above all others, it's the desire for their faith to be relevant. How does what we do in worship on Sunday connect with the rest of our lives Monday through Saturday? How does our Christian faith affect and inform our various roles as employee, citizen, parent, friend and more? How does the gospel help us make sense of our daily lives in the world?
Classically, the doctrine of vocation has addressed these questions, but this language now seems strange and foreign to many congregants; "meaning and purpose" often resonates more deeply than "vocation."
To address these questions, this project has gathered a complementary mix of nine mainline congregations with exceptional commitments to helping folks connect faith and daily life -- whether they have historically used the language of faith in the workplace, ministry in daily life or even the term vocation. Together, they are asking questions such as:
- What factors contribute most to a person's sense of "meaning, purpose and belonging"? What role does faith play here?
- How can the doctrine of vocation speak anew in our changed context?
- What does exemplary attention to faith and daily life questions look like? And why does it matter -- to individuals, congregations and communities?
- How can congregations just beginning to think about these things help cultivate vibrant faith and daily life practices?
Together they have reviewed background readings on the topic, developed and conducted shared surveys and interviews in their contexts, interpreted the findings, identified their chief faith and daily life challenges, and imagined programmatic experiments to constructively engage them.
Phase 1: identify a complementary mix of nine mainline congregations with deep and long-standing commitments to the integration of faith and daily life
Phase 2: engage in shared background readings on the topic while developing and conducting congregational surveys and interviews
Phase 3: interpret results of survey and interviews, identify strategic faith and daily life challenges, and imagine programmatic experiments to constructively engage them (June – October 2011)
Phase 4: learning partners conduct programmatic experiments and Luther Seminary teams make congregational visits to observe them in context (November 2011 – June 2012)
Phase 5: through various media, research teams summarize stories and strategies related to the exemplary cultivation and practice of vocation in mainline congregations