Case Study

Each case study presented should be the story of a concrete experience (issue, situation, problem or piece of work) critical to ministry development in their diocese or community.  The purpose of sharing a case study is to receive feedback from other groups outside of the presenter’s community in the form of counsel, ideas, and constructive criticism that will be of benefit to the presenter/s.  In order for the feedback to be helpful, sufficient information on the background, experience, plans and theological basis of the work must be provided.

The Case Study report describes a current situation in your community.  How far have you come in developing baptismal ministry?  What are the observable changes, expectations, attitudes?  In what direction are your efforts taking you?  What are your current needs and future expectations?  The Case Study report shall be in agreement with the principles of The Living Stones Partnership Covenant.

The Case Study report is introduced with a “Cover Page” that includes:

  • Case Study Summary:   Two or three sentences that indicate the area of baptismal ministry focused on in the report: personal transformation, community transformation, personal skills development, or church systems.
  • Identification of any resources (such as gifts discernment process) that are contained in the report.
  • Map of the diocese/community with some indication of scale.  If pertinent, include major cities, diocesan center, bordering states, provinces, diocese, and subdivisions.
  • Statistical information:
    • Area in square miles/kilometers
    • Number of congregations/administrative units; percentage of those engaged in intentional baptismal ministry development
    • Total population of the diocese/community
    • Number of baptized members; leadership statistics (as you define it)
    • Diocesan/community expense budget
    • Average Sunday attendance
  • Contact information of the presenter/s, including email addresses.  Institutional Partners include Coordinator, Bishop and team members

The Case Study Report itself is divided into three principle sections:  (1) Experience and Reflection, (2) Implications, and (3) Questions.  The length of the Case Study should be no longer than the cover page plus four (4) pages, or 1,000 words.

1. Experience and Reflection

When selecting the topic for your Case Study report, begin with the question, “In what concrete life experience is God currently inviting/working/challenging us the most?”

The reflections need to clearly tell the story of the concrete experience (issue, situation, or piece of work) you are presenting, giving necessary background and the current situation.  Key pieces of your Case Study may include diocesan resolutions or mission statements, organizational structures, etc., that inform your work in baptismal ministry development.  The Case Study story needs to identify the actual results that have been obtained by the application of ministry of all the baptized.  These may include organization changes in attitude, performance, expectations, etc.  It will also be helpful to explain special language used by your diocese/community (total common ministry, ministry support team, ministry developer, etc.)

2. Implications – “So What?”

In the light of your reflections on the Case Study story, what are some of the implications you begin to draw for ministry development?  Four interrelated areas of ministry development you might find helpful to consider are:

Implications for Personal Transformation: How does the story affect the spiritual life of the individuals involved?  What might be learnings you could apply to other settings in your diocese/community?

Implications for Skills Development/Competencies: What does the story say about skills/competencies of the individuals involved?  What skills were present, and which were lacking?  What skills need to be developed further, and what are the strategies?  What are the learnings you could apply to other settings in your diocese/community?

Implications for Congregation or Community Formation: How does the story reflect the stage and state of formation of the congregation or community in question?  How have gifts been discovered, called forth, nurtured?  How has this process been hindered?  What does the story say about the stage and state of community liturgy, stewardship, spiritual practices (such as hospitality, healing, and confession) and theological reflection?

Implications for Church Systems: What does the story say about the structures in place to support the congregation’s or the community’s life?  Who has access to leadership and how is it exercised?  Who benefits?  Who doesn’t?  What is the system for reaching decisions?  What are the mechanisms in place for exercising power?  Who doesn’t have access to them?  These kinds of questions direct the attention of ministry developments to the world of church systems.  These systems are the various networks (such as Vestries, Commissions on Ministry, Standing Committees, Church Canons, and Episcopal leadership) which actually support or impede personal transformation, skills development, and community formation.

3. Questions

Identify the key questions that you would like the group to respond to.


Summary of the Living Stone Covenant: Living Stones is a Partnership of dioceses , seminaries, communities of faith, and individuals engaged in Christian mission, committed to the ministry of all the baptized. We acknowledge that God works through all people, all times, and all circumstances. We believe that the people of God have been called throughout history to listen prayerfully and to step out in faith. We believe the church is the body of Christ and proclaims Christ to the world. Each person in the body is uniquely called and gifted for ministry. In the context of theological reflection, the Living Stones Partnership exists to support, challenge, and strengthen ministry in our respective contexts.

Regarding Confidentiality: Your Case Study will become a public document, often shared with others outside the Living Stones Meeting.  No personal matters should be detailed in the report.  If it is central to the Case Study, the presenter/s should alert the group before the presentation is made and ask for their understanding and agreement to confidentiality.

A Sample of a previous BMER is available upon request.  Contact either Ellen Bruckner, ellenwb@mchsi.com, phone 319-377-8795, or Holladay Sanderson, revsanderson@gmail.com, phone 208-954-1555.

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