This advanced course will provide understanding of qualitative research methods and tools, including their benefits and shortcomings. Students will become focused upon and become experts at conducting ethnography as an effective tool of study.
Ethnography is the scientific description of the customs of individual peoples and cultures. In order for the Kingdom of God to be effective, properly communicating actual needs from missional efforts will be needed. Ethnography helps to gain a full understanding.
Rather than focus on facts and figures and math and statistics, qualitative research focuses on experiences and people which are at the heart of the Gospel. Ethnography, with its focus on the 'telling of story' will be an effective way to stir hearts and stoke passion.
Acts 17:15-34 describes the Apostle Paul in Athens. Paul took time to look around the Areopagus in order to understand the people he would be communicating with and why idols were so prevalent. Paul researched the context he was in to be effective. Ethnography will allow students to research their context, but also communicate experiences in a way to garner support and report on Kingdom growth.
In order to see spiritual transformation of people and communities, research is needed to uncover the history, needs, problems, and opportunities to share the Gospel. Those stories also need to be told in an effective manner through ethnography.
Communicating demographic, psychographic, and sociographic data of local communities is an important part of connecting to the interconnected Kingdom of God and workers. That takes research rooted in experiences, interviews, and interactions with people on a regular basis.
We desire that Christian believers learn how to express their faith in their own social context in culturally-appropriate ways. We desire that Christian believers learn how to interact with culturally different peoples in grace-filled, appropriate ways. Christians can use ethnographic tools and methods to not only understand the context they are in, but communicate such experiences.
Being able to properly conduct research is practical skill. Being able to communicate that research and tell the story of the spread of the Kingdom of God is a practical skill.
Students may "think" they know all about their context, but stepping back and understanding the story, history, experience, and lives of the people in that context will allow for them to be more missional focused and better communicators of the Gospel.