Monday, May 27, 2013
mission research (post-graduate)
One of the joys of my current season is the opportunity to work with a good number of post-graduate students, on some really interesting aspects of mission research. At Uniting College, we’re seeing a growing number of post-graduate students wanting to focus their time on mission. What is even more interesting is that a good number of the projects are empirical in nature, actually working with real people, reflecting on what is happening on the ground, in lives and communities.
These are some of the projects I’m currently involved in supervising
- Phil (DMin) is interviewing pioneers. Dianna Butler Bass has argued for a pastoral imagination. So is there a pioneer imagination? What are the implications for formation?
- Gary (DMin) is exploring new monasticism. He has pioneered a course, one that helps people apply Benedictine spirituality to their everyday life. But does it? And what would Benedict say about how one might live monastically in today’s society?
- David (PhD) is analysing the cultural intelligence of ministers. What factors contribute to cross-cultural expertise? Can they be taught, or is it caught?
- Lesley (PhD) is analysing how migrants do theology. How is it different from Western approaches to theology? What might be the implications for theological education, especially as Australia sees increasing numbers of migrants call this place home?
- Fred is investigating male spirituality. He has used the Australian film Mens Group, as a window and is then reflecting missionally on ways to develop male spirituality, whether inside or outside the church
- (There are two more PHD projects who’ve spoken to me regarding supervision, both currently working their way through university entrance processes. Both will also be empirical projects, exploring the practice of mission and ministry. But I will hang off on naming those until they are a bit further down the track.)
One of the advantages of Uniting College is that we can offer qualifications both at PhD level, through Flinders University and at Doctor of Ministry, through Adelaide College of Divinity. It’s a great combination, allowing us to encourage a range of student interests, all while cultivating a growing research culture in mission and ministry. It’s great in the midst of a busy day, filled with meetings about the College, to suddenly be able to spend an hour with a keen and thoughtful mind, discussing mission, based not on theories but on actual around research.