Spiritual Capital: How the Kingdom Spreads through Communities
AbstractJust as a speech community can best understand its language use practices in terms of social capital investment, so the community’s progress towards holistic transformation can be understood, analogously, in terms of its spiritual capital. Using the same set of research tools provides a unified conceptual framework and promotes synergy between translation and church growth. Speakers can scope what their “heart language(s)” are by identifying those speech communities in whose social capital they are investing. This process includes ongoing study, ideally led by communities themselves, of their a) social networks; b) norms and reciprocal obligations; and, c) shared narratives. They can assess their spiritual capital in a similar way, if that concept is reoriented to make God both the agent and goal of its growth. This assessment requires study of a) the various spiritual identities of the individuals and groups with which people network; and, the extent to which b) core norms and obligations are Church-based and c) shared narratives are biblically concordant. The integrated study of social and spiritual capital helps communities to hold linguistic identity issues and Scripture engagement needs in tandem, so that their churches can be established, equipped, and expanding. To identify practical ways forward, this article considers two language communities in West Asia.