Drawing on Inherent Congregational Strength: An Appreciative Inquiry into Living Out the Five Marks of Mission

  • Author / Creator
    Oluigbo, Osita Chidi
  • Appreciative Inquiry is beginning to take centre stage as a change leadership alternative to traditional problem-focussed change models. As an approach to organizational leadership, Appreciative Inquiry rests on the assumption that in every organization, there is something that works. This project brings Appreciative Inquiry to bear on church ministry. A lot has been said and written on the phenomena of aging congregations and the diminishing influence of mainline churches in North America. Believing that what this raises is mainly a missional question, my thesis examines the attempt by the Anglican Communion to provide answers to these questions by formulating the “Five Marks of Mission” as a framework for the mission of the church. From the orientation of social constructionism, this parish church-ministry practitioner/researcher begins with the premise that organizations such as the church have the capacity to co-construct their future, and that what we need in the North American church is to change the conversation by turning attention away from our dying parts, what is lost, and what is no longer working in the corporate life of the church. Instead, we should bring energy to the celebration of those things that are working well in order to build on them for the future. This thesis documents attempts to bring mission back to the centre of church life in a study with two parishes in the Anglican Diocese of Huron in Southwestern Ontario. The study uses Appreciative Inquiries to construct a process for the implementation of the marks of mission within the two parishes. Though the sampling is relatively small, the resulting provocative proposals are encouraging. The propositions support both the social constructionist principle of co-creating the future, and the Appreciative Inquiry assumption that “organizations move towards what they study” (Cooperrider and Whitney, 2003) to create a future that the participating churches in the study can live into. This effort is only a modest addition to the ongoing debate about missional ecclesiology. The outcomes provide a process model for the implementation of the Five Marks of Mission. They should also open channel for further inquiry into the subject matter.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Ministry
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    St. Stephen's College
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  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Gardner, Leslie
    • Bowcott, Grayhame
    • Manley-Tannis, Richard