Worship: a window into Pentecostal theology as spirituality
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The research project "Worship: a window into Pentecostal theology as spirituality" is a qualitative study seeking to shed light on Pentecostal theology and spirituality through an investigation of worship, as it is practiced in two urban pentecostal/charismatic churches in Nairobi, Kenya. At the heart of Pentecostalism is its spirituality, and this spirituality finds worship as one of its major expressions. Thus worship may serve as a window into the very heart of Pentecostalism.
The study is based on four months of fieldwork in Nairobi. The method consists of a combination of observations, interviews, surveys and song-collection. During an intial fieldwork period in early 2013, several churches in Nairobi were approached and then for the second round in 2013-2014, two churches were selected as the main focus of study. The chosen churches were Mavuno Church, Bellevue and Christ is the Answer Ministires (CITAM) Woodley; both English-speaking, upper-middle class, with multiple services and around 4000 attendants per Sunday. Woodley is an ‘all-generations’ type of church, while Mavuno targets the young, urban proffessional.Woodley belongs to the classical pentecostal group of churches and has both evangelical and neo-pentecostal influences, while Mavuno is a non-denominational, evangelical-charismatic church, also with neo-pentecostal influences.
In pentecostal/charismatic idiom ‘worship’ often designates the first part of the church service; a section of the liturgy that integrates communal singing, music and prayers and that is often referred to as ‘praise and worship’. This forms an essential part of pentecostal/ charismatic liturgy, as Daniel Albrecht and others have shown. Following Albrecht, I will call the section ‘the rite of worship and praise’, and suggest that it is one of four primary rites in the liturgy. However, the concept of ‘worship’ has several layers of meaning and it will be part of the study to investigate these.
The study combines theology with ritual theory and aims at analyzing worship from three different angles: 1) ritual performance, 2) embodiment/affections; and 3) doctrine/theological motivations. Taken together they address the larger question of the role of worship in pentecostal spirituality and theology. The presumption is that theology can be ‘read’ from ritual practice; which means that the theology of a congregation can be meaningfully explored on the basis of qualitative/ethnographic data.
1. How is worship practiced, understood and motivated in CITAM Woodley and Mavuno church?
2. What theology is embedded in; attached to, expressed through, and crafted by, the practice of worship in these pentecostal/charismatic settings?
|Effective start/end date||2012/09/01 → …|
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