“Lord, have mercy on us!” An Ethnographic Understanding of Reflexive Church Renewal Practices in The Netherlands

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentationAcademic


    We were seated at the Sheepfold*, a Dutch Reformed Church (RCL). In a trial exercise, good and not so good church practices were being mentioned in order to improve the church’s mission. Each time a valued practice passed, the participants said “Praise the Lord!”; when a failed practice or set-back was brought up this changed to “Lord have mercy on us!”.
    These discursive speech acts are emblematic of how the Sheepfold* reflexively paved a way toward experiencing church-renewal. This paper describes a framework of six fields of Christian practice, and its use at the Sheepfold* and the Fountainchurch*. This framework is used within the Church-renewal-initiative Kerk2030 that is developed to reflexively empower local church for renewal (www.kerk2030.nl). These fields of practice, forming a coherent framework informed by research on lived theology, can be described as means by which Christians experience and embody salvation in a church setting, with an eye to their participation in the missio Dei. In Kerk2030, more than 30 local churches work together now.
    By means of an ethnographic description of several exercises aimed at installing this reflexive culture locally, we want to establish an understanding of how local practices historically and discursively en-textualize church renewal frameworks as a means to improve their existential mandate to be church of Christ, for the people (both internal and external).
    Period17 Sept 2022
    Event titleEcclesiology and Ethnography Conference Durham 2022
    Event typeConference
    LocationDurham, United KingdomShow on map
    Degree of RecognitionInternational


    • Ehnography
    • Ecclesial Practices
    • Reflexivity
    • practical ecclesiology
    • Church Renewal