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The goal of this project was to create a space within which a missional future and imagination could be cultivated in a local congregation. In order to do so, participants would need to be able to name their present praxis, reflect upon it with cultural resources, and bring that into dialogue with Scripture, denominational tradition, and local context. By first bringing into awareness and understanding how the congregation’s suburban context frames their missional imagination and action, participants will be better prepared to address the adaptive challenge of connecting with the context.
The means to reach this goal was a hospitality experiment around the suburban tables of participants. It is argued that by practicing hospitality the participants’ awareness and understanding of their cultural context, scriptural resources, and denominational traditions would be increased and their efforts would lead to further diffusion within the congregation and missional innovation beyond it. This hypothesis was tested among four groups of participants within the Tylersville Road Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Mason, Ohio. To validate this hypothesis a hospitality measurement was given before and after the experiment, qualitative interviews to evaluate the experiment were done, and a congregational survey to measure diffusion was given.
This project concludes that practicing hospitality in this experiment did increase participants’ awareness and understanding of the cultural context, scriptural resources, and denominational traditions. Furthermore, missional diffusion within the congregation and the groundwork for missional innovation beyond the congregation were both advanced in order to address the adaptive challenge. Given the limited size of the test sample, however, these findings require further research before a definite conclusion can be drawn. Although further research is needed, the practice of hospitality is a holy disruption that permits a glimpse into God’s agency, intentions, and work already underway in this world.
Content Reader: Alan J. Roxburgh, PhD
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Sybrant, Troy S., "From Open Table to Open Tables: The Challenge and Opportunity of Hospitality in the Suburbs" (2016). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 264.