Selected case studies of churches facilitating spiritual growth in online environments
Robert Clayton Scroggins
The thesis of this dissertation is that churches who create online environments that facilitate spiritual growth have three common practices as follows: practical Bible teaching that allows for a wide audience; a diversified web presence that allows multiple ways for users to connect; and a three-way relationship between the church, the user, and other users. This dissertation examines the following: an overview of spiritual growth for individuals and churches, online tools for personal growth, and online environments created by local churches for Internet users. The project then continues with an explanation of research procedure and an argument for the legitimacy of the case study method. He then reports the research formulated by the case studies. All three churches studied are rather large in size, each of them differs in culture and structure. However, there are commonalities in how their online environments facilitate spiritual growth, which supports the hypothesis. The dissertation concludes with a chapter presenting four principles for how churches can facilitate spiritual growth in online environments as well as potential ideas for related areas of study and research.
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