Research in Theology and Ministry – RITHM

The RITHM (Research In THeology and Ministry) research group is one of the main research groups at the Department for Theology, Religion and Philosophy at NLA University College. The aim of RITHM is to create and develop a research culture for research that explores the intersection between theology and ministry. The group will work to stimulate research collaboration among faculty members in the field of practical theology, widely understood. RITHM also invites other researchers, departments, and institutions, to join the group in this endeavour. 

The RITHM research group has a special interest in theoretical and empirical research which focuses on theology in the lived. RITHM is committed to develop high quality theological research at the crossroads – on the intersection between theology and ministry, exploring the interface between practical theology and systematic theology, and bringing together empirical and theoretical research from theological disciplines, social sciences and other. 


Bård Eirik Hallesby Norheim, Professor in Theology (NLA University College) and Professor II in Theology (VID)  
Pete Ward, Professor in Practical Theology (Durham University) and Professor II in Practical Theology (NLA University College) 


Lars Dahle, Associate Professor in Systematic Theology (NLA University College) 
Margunn Serigstad Dahle, Associate Professor (NLA University College) 
Stefan Gustavsson, Associate Professor II in Systematic Theology (NLA University College) 
Bjørn Hinderaker, University Lecturer (NLA University College) 
Vegard Holm, University Lecturer (NLA University College) 
Gunnar Innerdal, Associate Professor in Systematic Theology (NLA University College) 
Rolf Kjøde, Associate Professor in Mission Studies (NLA University College) 
Ingvild Thu Kro, Ph.D.-student (Ansgar) 
Robert Lilleaasen, Associate Professor in Practical Theology (Fjellhaug International University College) 
Gretchen Schoon Tanis, Associate Professor in Practical Theology (NLA University College) 
Knut Tveitereid, Associate Professor in Practical Theology (MF) and Associate Professor II of Practical Theology (NLA University College) 
Tony Watkins, Research Fellow (NLA University College)
Peter S. Williams, Associate Professor II (NLA University College) 
Rune Øystese, Associate Professor of Christian Education (NLA University College) 

The research group's work

In the research group there will be room for presenting and discussing a variety of different research projects and reading and discussing research articles and books. Much of the operational mode of the group is focused on presenting and reflecting on research papers from master students, doctoral students, and senior researchers. RITHM works in close cooperation with its “sister research group” at VID Specialized University, CAP (“Church and Practice”). The two groups meet online for shorter session presenting research and discussing projects every month. The groups also meet on-site in Bergen, or in Stavanger with the for a full day session once per semester.

The group is used to facilitate mentoring for emerging researchers and for those who seek to be advice for promotion in their academic career. The research group put great effort in helping researchers publish high-quality, peer-reviewed articles and books. 

The group is also used to develop and host larger projects, like research symposiums, joint research projects etc. Currently the group is involved in and hosting several projects. The TLC-project (2021-2025), Teaching and Learning Theology in Crisis, is a joint project on glocal co-teaching and action research on the future of theological education with Stellenbosch University. For 2022-2023 the group is also involved in a research project on Christian leadership with several other institutions. The group is also exploring a possible research project on congregational development.


Group leader: Bård Eirik Hallesby Norheim 
Prorektor for forskning og utvikling: Torgeir Landro