To discern and understand the actualities
of the life of religious communities is the
first step to addressing adequately their needs.
Robert K. Martin -
Congregational Studies and Critical
Pedagogy in Theological Perspective
According to Stokes and Roozen, congregational studies responds to the "challenge of the multiplicity of social and religious forces that erode a congregation's unity of vision,and it is an affirmation that a congregation's inherited and confessed, formal and informal, web of symbolic meaning, values, and commitments—that is, its culture—always consciously or unconsciously informs pragmatic choices made among the diverse alternatives of program, process, and context with which every congregation is continually confronted." In other words, congregational studies focuses almost entirely upon the consoli dation of a congregational identity and the enhancement of ministries that develop from the congregation's self-understanding. From Robert K. Martin - Congregational Studies and Critical Pedagogy in Theological Perspective