The final meetings of the Deep in the Burbs Research Project happen in two weeks. Here is a brief synopsis of the project and the final questions we will ponder.
A Brief Summary
We are a group of Upper Mid-Western Suburban ELCA Christians from three congregations. We came together in the Deep in the Burbs Research Team to reimagine spiritual formation in the suburbs in light of the social Trinity. We met together for four weeks in February and March, 2014 to discuss the topics of spiritual formation, the social Trinity, and the suburban context. We then met four more times in April and May to collaboratively create projects that we could do in our own contexts to engage these key topics in our lived experience between May and November. Each meeting began with a Dwelling in the Word in John 14, 15, and 16 before we engaged the specific topic at hand.
The data created in this project were in the following forms: audio recordings of each team meeting, online discussion forums in our www.deepintheburbs.com site, and personal journals. These data were compiled and processed by our lead researcher, Steve Thomason.
The projects we set out to pursue were:
- Prayer Group for Families of Confirmation Students
- Community Pig Roast
- Befrienders Ministry
- Reconfiguring Adult Formation Curriculum around Trinity
- Sunday S’mores in Church Parking Lot
- Building Haiti Mission Teams
- Small Group to Study the Book 7
- Leadership in Men’s Ministry
- Connecting with Neighborhood around and Service Issue/Project
- Regular Group to Serve at Feed My Starving Children
We experimented with these projects with various levels of success and modification from May through the end of October, 2014. We journaled our thoughts, feelings, and experiences and either shared them on the discussion forum and/or emailed them to Steve Thomason.
Now, we come to the end of our journey.
We must now prayerfully consider the following questions:
- In what ways, if at all, did the conversation about the social/relational/entangled Trinity change the way you think about and/or practice spiritual formation?
- What part of the Deep in the Burbs Project surprised you, and how?
- What have been your significant take-aways from this project? In other words, what have you learned from this experience?
- How did Dwelling in the Word either enhance or deter from the project?
- If we were to do this project again, what would you do differently?
- What advice would you give to suburban ELCA christians regarding spiritual formation in light of your experience in this project?
- What advice would you give to suburban ELCA pastors and ministry leaders regarding spiritual formation in light of your experience in this project?
- What questions do you think should be asked about the project that have not been asked in questions 1-7?