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Author Guidelines

Ecclesial Futures is an international, ecumenical peer-reviewed journal publishing high-quality, original research and theological reflection. Please see the journal's Aims & Scope for information about its focus. Please note our journal only publishes manuscripts in English.

Ecclesial Futures accepts the following types of article: original research papers, narrative or literature reviews on a relevant subject, theological and missiological reflections, case study reports, conference papers and book reviews. 

Here are examples of the kind of questions and subjects we would love to have addressed in the journal; they are only a sample but may help prospective authors to locate their work with us. 

  • Longitudinal studies in congregational development over three or more years.
  • Diagnoses of why different churches flourish or die.  
  • Ethnographic studies of the cultural changes required in ‘flourishing’ churches.
  • How local churches can learn to experiment and fail well such that they learn.
  • How might a whole denomination transform itself towards embodying the mission of God? 
  • Astute, hermeneutically aware bible scholarship on the future of the contemporary church. 
  • Implications for theological education of the local church ‘as the hermeneutic of the gospel’. 
  • Contextual studies of transformative churches from wide-ranging places – from the deeply secular to say, animist/shamanist contexts and everything in between
  • What kind of leadership is required for the local church to embody the mission of God? 
  • What does a local church need to know before it can engage in mission? 
  • Systemic studies of local churches and the systems that support them. 

Peer Review

Ecclesial Futures is a double-blind peer reviewed, international and ecumenical journal. All reviewers must respond to these questions:

  • Does the submission fall within the scope of the journal? Is the article sufficiently original to warrant publication?
  • In your view what is the likely impact of the article, internationally, for readers?
  • Is the writing readable, lively and clear, suitable for an academic and practitioner audience?
  • Do the title and abstract together give an adequate summary of the paper and mention the key concepts and conclusions?
  • Is the literature review/assessment sufficiently comprehensive and critical?
  • Do the conclusions adequately reflect the work/research reported? How would you rate the logic of the argument?
  • Are the bibliography, referencing and any footnotes appropriate and comprehensive?
  • Is the referencing style consistent and according with journal guidelines?

They then have the option to offer one of five possible responses to the article:

  • Accept unconditionally
  • Accept with minor revisions
  • Accept with substantial revisions
  • Return to the author for major rewriting and further peer review
  • Reject

Once both reviews are received the issue editor makes the appropriate response to the author – and if moving towards publication works with them to improve their work according the recommendations. The Editor’s decision on whether an article is published is always final.

We wish to maintain the integrity of our peer-review process and to uphold high standards when evaluating work submitted to us. Once a paper has been assessed for suitability by one of the co-editors, it will then be double blind peer reviewed by independent, anonymous expert referees. 

Preparing Your Paper

Structure

If your article presents original research it should normally be compiled in the following order: title; abstract; introduction, literature review, materials and methods, results, analysis, discussion and theological reflection; acknowledgments; declaration of interest statement; references; appendices (as appropriate); table(s) with caption(s) (on individual pages); figures; figure captions (as a list). 

Other innovative approaches to article writing are possible and welcomed by the journal and it is best to discuss these with the co-editors in the first instance and/or share a draft version of the paper with them. 

Please note Ecclesial Futures is first and foremost a missiological and theological journal and your paper should reflect this emphasis throughout its various sections.

Word Limits

Please include a word count for your paper when submitting.

A typical article for this journal should be of around 6000 words. We allow some reasonable leeway on this but not more than approximately 10%; this limit does not include Tables and Figures; it does include Abstract, Footnotes, Figure captions, References and Acknowledgements.

Your abstract should be between 150 and 250 words with the upper limit strictly adhered to. 

Submitting your paper

Please submit two copies of the paper as follows;

  1. Contains the title, abstract, full text and your author biography (50 words maximum) 
  2. The “Blind Copy” which contains the title, abstract and full text with any reference to you as the author removed or in the case of references to your own work your name is exchanged for the word “author”. 

Referencing and Style Guidelines

Our very strong preference is for the Author-Date (Social Science) style over the Footnotes and Bibliography style. 

  • The function of the author-date style of referencing is to reduce the need for footnotes, by embedding references to cited works in the text in abbreviated form (e.g., Brown, 1980: 123).
  • Footnotes are not excluded but should be restricted to important extra information or points of note for the reader to follow-up and which are best left out of the flow of the main text.
  • There would typically be no more than a handful (5-6) in a 6000 word article.
  • Note a space always follows the colon between the date and the page reference (which omits the need for ―p. )
  • Several works by the same author are cited by date only, the dates being separated by commas; when page numbers are given, the year dates are separated by semicolons: (Jones, 1963; 1972a; 1986) (Jones, 1963a: 10; 1972; 1986: 123)
  • Where there are authors with the same surname, initials should be included.
  • A full set of “References” including all the texts cited will be included at the end of the article. Make sure that no extraneous texts are found there that are not cited in the article. Only use references that are strictly necessary for the strengthening your argument - do not build up a long bibliography for its own sake.
  • A full set of “Instructions for Authors” including the detailed style and referencing guide is found here or contact a co-editor who can supply the document. 

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