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Field Research for Community-based Ministries

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Maier, Rudi, 2018. Field Research for Community-Based Ministries: Social Science Principles, Methods, and Practices for Mission and Ministry Leadership
Research is an often neglected but essential dimension of Christian missions. Too often we copy what those around us are doing or draw on a few anecdotes to make a case for our methods of outreach. We rarely take the time or money to study mission methods carefully. Consequently, we are caught up in current missiological fads.
Mission research must be done alongside of ministry. There is an error in thinking that research can be done first, then ministry. We may cut off the research too soon and never return to it, or we may extend research so long that we never get around to ministry. Good research opens many doors for ministry, and ministry raises questions that require further research. The two are parallels, ongoing tasks essential to effective outreach.
Mission research seeks to build a bridge that communicates and applies truth revealed in Scripture within specific human contexts. In this study of Scripture, it draws on the methods of systematic, biblical, and contextual theology. In its study of human settings, it draws on philosophy, history, and the social sciences. It sees these different theories and methods as essential to understanding the task and as complimentary to one another.
In this book we focus on the contribution that social science methods can make to our understanding of missions. In doing so we apply these methods both to the study of biblical texts and to contemporary human settings so as to build a bridge of understanding between them.

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