Research: Missional Leadership and the ELCA Malaria Campaign
Luther Seminary received a generous grant, called the Vibrant Congregations Project, from the Lilly Foundation to partner with congregations in order to learn how they became vibrant in the first place. In 2011-2012, partner congregations will complete projects that help discover the root of their vibrancy.
The Vibrant Congregations Project identifies six critical dimensions that make up vibrant congregational life and culture. Missional leadership is one of those six dimensions.
In general, Christians have a sense of mission -- they understand that the larger church and their local congregation exist for their neighbors and the world, they believe that God loves the world, and they feel called to extend this love through witness and service.
A research team from Luther Seminary is looking at how participation in the ELCA Malaria Campaign leads a congregation to more fully engage in mission within its context. This grows out of work previously done by Dr. Gary Simpson on the Church and Civil Society.
ELCA Malaria Campaign
The ELCA Malaria Campaign is an effort by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and companion churches in 11 African countries to prevent, treat and contain malaria by 2015.
For this research, Luther Seminary is partnering with two ELCA synods in this research project, the Minneapolis Area Synod and the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin. Both of these synods were participants in the pilot efforts of the ELCA Malaria Campaign.
The goal of this research is to learn about congregational culture and leadership in relation to participation in ELCA Malaria Campaign in order to address the following questions:
- What elements of their theological imagination, missional culture, and worship and education practices influence their decision to participate in caring for God’s world in this way?
- What effect does their participation in the campaign have on their culture, imagination and practices?
The research team consists of four Luther Seminary faculty: Dr. Gary Simpson, Dr. Mary Sue Dreier, Dr. Dirk Lange and Dr. Alvin Luedke. Other members of the team are the Rev. Daniel Anderson (Ph.D. candidate) and Timothy Siburg (M.A. student), as well as representatives from the partner synods.
In 2011, the team is organizing the research process and instruments. Its plan is to gather data in the spring of 2012 and to analyze and report results during the summer of 2012.