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Servant leadership and shepherd leadership: The missing dynamic in pastoral integrity in South Africa today



This article aims to give a full definition of servant leadership and shepherd leadership by comparing and contrasting the two texts of Jeremiah 23 and John 10. The notion of ‘shepherd’ or ‘shepherding’ is analysed and brought into the current debate on servant leadership. The shepherd metaphor used in the two passages is contextualised to the South African pastoral leadership situation, especially with regard to pastoral integrity. The status of pastoral leadership in the South African church community is highlighted as a challenge to be considered from the perspective of servant leadership proposed in Matthew 20:16. The presenter would like to conscientise the Christian community that integrity in the areas of caring, feeding and protecting the flock should be a driving force towards pastoral integrity. The exegetical findings of the shepherd model are applied to the pastoral leadership integrity. An appeal is made to the ecclesiastical community to return to the fundamentals of leadership by embracing servant leadership as an ensuing model for pastoral leadership integrity. The article contributes towards the knowledge of the definition, role and understanding of pastoral leadership defined through servant and shepherd leadership concepts. Its academic value lies in the fields of church leaderships, ethics and biblical teachings.
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HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies
ISSN: (Online) 2072-8050, (Print) 0259-9422
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Kelebogile T. Resane1
1Department of Historical
and Construcve Theology,
Faculty of Theology
and Religion, University of
the Free State, Bloemfontein,
South Africa
Corresponding author:
Kelebogile Resane,
Received: 10 June 2019
Accepted: 24 Jan. 2020
Published: 12 Mar. 2020
How to cite this arcle:
Resane, K.T., 2020, ‘Servant
leadership and shepherd
leadership: The missing
dynamic in pastoral integrity
in South Africa today’,
HTS Teologiese Studies/
Theological Studies 76(1),
a5608. hps://
© 2020. The Authors.
Licensee: AOSIS. This work
is licensed under the
Creave Commons
Aribuon License.
This article defines the concepts of servant leadership and shepherd leadership; it aims to explain
how these two leadership concepts express leadership in the church, especially for those in
pastoral leadership. The three texts of Jeremiah 23, John 10 and Matthew 20:16 are briefly surveyed
to define these two leadership concepts. It has to be borne in mind that there is currently no
theological in-depth analysis of these concepts, except gleaning from the fields of psychology and
sociology, with a little bit of contribution from practical theology. It is broadly accepted that
theology cannot be a mere observer of developments in other disciplines, especially in humanities,
without formulating its own theoretical frameworks in and through which to conduct its
arguments and insulate key ideas from these external sceptics and mystics (Lovin et al. 2017:xxi).
This gives this article the authenticity of interdisciplinarity and shows how social sciences are
symbiotically related to expose the truth that supports or enhances metanarratives.
Pastoral leadership in South Africa is, in many instances, marred by integrity crises.
Proposal brought forth is the warning against materialism, lack of credibility in reporting, pride
and shallow theological training.
These could be addressed with credible pastoral theology that emphasises pastoral ethics, which
focus on training that does not separate the academic from the practical exposure and experience.
This is in agreement with Chiroma (2017) that:
Ministerial development is to be holistic, including the personal, spiritual, academic and social development
of students. Effective ministry requires not only abstract theological and biblical knowledge, but also a
certain level of ministerial competencies (e.g. the articulation of theological reflection and learning the
practice of ministry, the transition from formal theological training into the work of ministry). (p. 51)
The curriculum for ministerial training and formation is challenged to take a new turn
where morality and integrity form an irrefutable salience in the development of servant and
shepherd leaders.
This article aims to give a full definition of servant leadership and shepherd leadership by
comparing and contrasting the two texts of Jeremiah 23 and John 10. The notion of ‘shepherd’
or ‘shepherding’ is analysed and brought into the current debate on servant leadership. The
shepherd metaphor used in the two passages is contextualised to the South African pastoral
leadership situation, especially with regard to pastoral integrity. The status of pastoral
leadership in the South African church community is highlighted as a challenge to be
considered from the perspective of servant leadership proposed in Matthew 20:16. The
presenter would like to conscientise the Christian community that integrity in the areas of
caring, feeding and protecting the flock should be a driving force towards pastoral integrity.
The exegetical findings of the shepherd model are applied to the pastoral leadership
integrity. An appeal is made to the ecclesiastical community to return to the fundamentals
of leadership by embracing servant leadership as an ensuing model for pastoral leadership
integrity. The article contributes towards the knowledge of the definition, role and
understanding of pastoral leadership defined through servant and shepherd leadership
concepts. Its academic value lies in the fields of church leaderships, ethics and biblical
Keywords: servant; shepherd; leader; pastor; church; integrity.
Servant leadership and shepherd leadership:
The missing dynamic in pastoral integrity in
South Africa today
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Scan this QR
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Denions of terms
Servant leadership
Servant leadership is a timeless leadership philosophy with its
main focus on a leader as a servant whose purpose is to serve.
The servant leadership philosophy and practices have been
expressed in many ways and applied in many contexts. Some
of the most well-known advocates of servant leadership
philosophy include Blanchard (2003, 2007) Stephen Covey,
Merrill & Merrill (1995), Senge (1990), Peck (2004), Wheatley
(2002), McGee-Cooper, Welch and Trammell (2015), Spears
(2010:16) and Keith (2015) from the Greenleaf Center for
Servant Leadership. The phrase ‘servant leadership’ was
coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay
that he first published in 1970. In that essay, Greenleaf said:
The servant-leader is servant first … It begins with the natural
feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious
choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply
different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the
need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material
possessions … The leader-first and the servant-first are two
extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that
are part of the infinite variety of human nature.
Quite a good number of authors mentioned above are
associated with Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership
based in Indianapolis, IN, USA. For instance, in his works,
Greenleaf discusses the need for a better approach to
leadership, one that puts serving others – including
employees, customers and the community – as the number
one priority. Servant leadership emphasises increased service
to others, a holistic approach to work, promoting a sense of
community and the sharing of power in decision-making
(Spears 2005:2). Spears (2005) continues to highlight that in
all of Greenleaf’s writings, there are 10 characteristics of the
servant-leader that are of critical importance and are central
to the development of servant-leaders. Without any
elaboration on each of them, these characteristics are:
listening, sympathy, healing, awareness, persuasion,
conceptualisation, foresight, stewardship, commitment to
the growth of people and building of the community
(Spears 2005:3–4). One exponent of servant leadership is
Wong (2007), who continued the notion as follows:
In sum, different from the traditional trait, behavioral, situational,
and contingency leadership models, SL focuses on (a) the humble
and ethical use of power as a servant leader, (b) cultivating
a genuine relationship between leaders and followers, and
(c) creating a supportive and positive work environment. However,
in terms of the actual exercise of leadership, servant leaders are
free to incorporate the positive aspects of all other leadership
models except command-and-control dictatorship. (p. 3)
The bottom line of this servant-first is to ensure that other
people’s highest priority needs are being served.
The ensuing passion of servant leadership is the growth of
those being served. In this process of being served, the
measuring yardstick assesses how those being served grow
wiser, become freer, healthier and become the initiators rather
than those commanded. A servant-leader focusses primarily
on the growth and the well-being of people and the
communities to which they belong. Whilst traditional
leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise
of power by one at the ‘top of the pyramid’, servant leadership
is different. The servant-leader shares power, places the
needs of others first and helps people develop and perform
as efficiently as possible.
In his second major essay, The Institution as Servant, Greenleaf
articulated what is often called the ‘credo’. There he said the
following (Spears 2004):
This is my thesis: caring for persons, the more able and the less
able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is
built. Whereas, until recently, caring was largely person to
person, now most of it is mediated through institutions – often
large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always competent;
sometimes corrupt. If a better society is to be built, one that is
more just and more loving, one that provides greater creative
opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise
both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant
of existing major institutions by new regenerative forces
operating within them. (p. 7)
Servant leadership is easy for people with high self-esteem.
Such people have no problem giving credit to others.
They have no problem listening to other people for ideas.
They have no problem in nurturing other people towards
maturity and competency. They do not think that building up
other people is going to be threatening in any way (Blanchard
1999:2). For them, empowering other people is a goal, for
they know that once ‘the conditions of empowerment are in
place, servant leadership creates powerful results’ (Covey,
Merril & Merril 1995:251). In a nutshell, servant leadership is
a process of influencing others to confront reality and move
towards a shared vision, whereby the interests of people and
their common good are prioritised over the personal interests
of the leader (Ebener 2010).
Shepherd leadership
Shepherd leadership is sending others to the front to take the
lead in areas where they are the strongest. It is both a quality
and the action of deliberate efforts to develop others. It is a
leadership sense of responsibility entrusted by God to map
out the way for a brighter and better future for the emerging
leaders. The welfare of the sheep (those led) becomes a
priority. The present author (Resane 2014) mentioned
somewhere the following:
[A] shepherd refers to a keeper of sheep. This is the person who
tends, feeds, or guards the flocks. The Hebrew word for
shepherding is often translated as ‘feeding’ as it is impressed by
the next statement, ‘I shall not want’ or ‘I shall lack nothing’ –
alluding to the fact that the Psalmist means he will lack neither in
this life nor in the next. (p. 5)
Shepherd imagery appeared throughout the Bible beginning
in Genesis (Stanley 1961), and according to Swalm (2010),
shepherding occurred over 500 times across the Old
Testament and the New Testament. The great Old Testament
leaders, Moses and David, were shepherds of both sheep and
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God’s chosen people, whilst many of the Old Testament
prophets also used the shepherd imagery as they proclaimed
their revelations.
The shepherd metaphor reflects how leaders guide, protect
and provide. Resane (2014) expanded this function as follows:
The broader functions of the shepherd were to lead the sheep to
pastures and water (Ps 23:1) to protect them from wild animals
(1 Sm 17:34–35); and to guard them at night, whether in the open
(Lk 2:8) or in sheepfolds (Zph 2:6) where they counted them as
they entered the fold (Jr 33:13). They took care of the sheep and
even carried weak lambs in their arms (Is 40:11). (p. 2)
This means that the shepherd-leader directs the flock in areas
of conduct and actions. They assist or lead the flock.
The shepherd teaches the flock for restoration purposes and
guides them in paths of righteousness. They are protected from
erroneous dogma. Tenney (1975) highlighted this as follows:
The life of the sheep was dependent upon the power and
provision of the shepherd. Their recognition of him and his
recognition of them established the relationship. Hearing his
voice, following his leading, entering the fold through him, and
the refusal to follow others was John’s picture of belief. (p. 165)
Leaders in the church are called to be shepherds, not a board of
directors. This requires involvement in a personal shepherding
ministry amongst the people. The shepherd leader unpacks
the four primary ministries of shepherds – knowing, feeding,
leading and protecting – on macro (church-wide) and micro
(personal) levels (Witmer 2010).
The prophetic literature of the Old Testament refers to
national leaders as shepherds (Ezk 34:1; Jr 23:1).
Passage from Jeremiah 23 issues judgement to shepherds
who have not upheld their duties to their flock. Jeremiah is
not concerned with the actual livestock and the real
shepherds. Instead, the prophet is using a common metaphor
from the ancient Near East to speak of human kings and
leaders as shepherds to the people. The ovine imagery is
appropriate as the duties and responsibilities of shepherds
would be well known to ancient readers.
Shepherds are supposed to take care of their sheep – feed
them, protect them and guide them.
When David confronted Goliath, he based his offer primarily
on the experience he had gained as a shepherd with lions and
bears that preyed on the flock. Shepherding of those days
called for bravery, and the shepherd was responsible for the
livelihood of the flock. The legitimate shepherd would risk
his life for the protection of his flock of sheep. ‘The shepherd
willingly provides for the sheep green grass, safe and secure
water, and a safe and protected path’ (Adamo 2018:2).
Many pastors do not have intimate knowledge of these
pastoral responsibilities. The metaphor of a shepherd really
works only for those possessing prior biblical knowledge or
livestock lifestyle or experience. How might we reimagine
this metaphor for today? How do we speak of and imagine
leadership? Similarly, many of us do not live under the rule
of a king. To conceive of God as a king does not resonate well
with a people of democracy. We need perhaps new metaphors
for leadership, a way to update and expand our biblical
metaphors. But where shall we obtain these understandings
of leadership?
Jeremiah 23 and John 10 narraves
examined and compared
The Jeremiah text shows that the scattering God is also the
gathering God. Judgement is passed on the wicked political
and religious leaders (kings and shepherds) because they
consort and confer together for the scattering and the
destruction of God’s sheep (Jr 23:1–2), instead of offering
pastoral care expected from them. Wessels (2014) is correct that:
In the Jeremiah text the metaphor of a shepherd is used to refer
to the leaders in the Judean society (Jr 3:15; 6:3; 10:21; 12:10; 22:22;
23:1; 23:4; 25:34–36). The concept of a shepherd comes from the
domain of rustic life where a person is given the responsibility to
lead sheep into pastures, to watch over them, to keep them
together, to protect them and to bring them back to safety. (p. 2)
The shepherds failed to attend to God’s people in care and
protection, so God will attend to them on judgement. Not
only that, in Jeremiah 23:3–4, God declared:
Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries
where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their
fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds
over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more,
nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.
The Lord will restore the fortunes of his people, and they will
have shepherds who care for them, provide for them and
protect them. How will these shepherds serve God’s people?
The parallel passage in Jeremiah 3:15 tells us: And I will give
you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge
and understanding.
The fallible shepherds (Jr 23:1) will be replaced with credible
ones that are divinely appointed to tend the re-gathered
sheep (Jr 23:4). The leaders of God’s regathered people will
lead them by feeding them the knowledge and understanding
of God’s ways and of the Word.
Unlike the shepherds of Jeremiah 23, Jesus sets an opposite
example of what a credible and genuine shepherd should be.
The Gospel of John contributed not only unique perspectives
on Jesus, his deity and his ministry but also gave an insight
into the characteristics necessary to be effective disciples
(DeSilva 2004:391). The good shepherd narrative of John
10:1–18 offered unique insights on lessons in leadership
directly from Jesus. In fact, John 10 narrative is a Christocentric
theology of leadership. Jesus was the epitome of servant
leadership, as demonstrated by shepherd-leadership in this
narrative (Thompson 2007:117).
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John’s Christology provided some unique contributions to
the ‘identity and significance of Jesus’ (DeSilva 2004:417),
and the shepherd narrative depicted characteristics of a good
shepherd, the leader who protected, guided and cared for the
flock. John was clear in presenting Jesus as the ‘good
shepherd’ in John 10 (Scott 1995) who was sacrificial and
loving (Wright 2012). Jesus claimed that he was destined to
lead the sheep out into new pastures. This, as per David’s
Psalm 23, meant sustenance and refreshment of the human
soul (Tenney 1975:164). The prevalence of shepherding in
Scripture suggests that the several aspects of herding and
caring for sheep are useful for depicting proper relationships
between Christ and his people, and that those characteristics
can similarly offer lessons in leadership (Tenney 1981).
The panoramic view of these two texts (Jr 23 and Jn 10) makes
one to conclude that the servant leader and shepherd leader
share the same characteristics of serving the sheep by loving
them and developing a close and intimate relationship with
them, so that they know his voice and trust him. This leads to
an understanding of the needs of the sheep and what threatens
them during their timid state of needs. Servant and shepherd
leaders work tirelessly to provide for and protect the sheep by
leading them to fresh pastures and fresh water. Generally, this
leader cares for, loves and sacrifices his life for them.
The shepherds referred to in Jeremiah’s text were those who
Jesus called thieves and robbers. Thieves are those who obtain
their booty by subtlety, whilst robbers obtain their loot by
violence. Thieves come to satisfy their own fleshly desires
(Hobbs 1979:50). From Jesus’ perspective, these are the false
messiahs, false prophets and false teachers.
Pastoral integrity
Integrity speaks of wholeness, entireness or completeness.
The word ‘integrity’ is derived from the root, integer, which
means untouched, intact or entire. Dividedness is not
compatible with integrity. A person with integrity is
not divided (duplicity) or pretending (hypocrisy). His or her
whole life operates in synchrony. He or she is whole and his
or her life is put together. All aspects of his or her life work
together harmoniously (Wiersbe 1991:21).
Pastoral integrity implies transparency – nothing to hide and
nothing to fear. The ethical pastor’s life is an open book. He is
integer. The person with integrity has a single will that
is seeking nothing but to serve others.
Like the shepherds referred to in Jeremiah 23, many pastors
in the current South Africa have become blind to the holiness
and character of God. Morality has declined in national
affairs. It is true that morality declines when a society rejects
God. Rejection of God leads to perversion of morality
(Klautke 2012:104). Pastoral ethics are at stake as can be borne
out by character flaws and questionable actions of many
pastors in the public domain.
It is regrettable that many pastors (shepherds) in South Africa
carry a marred image regarding pastoral integrity, and
Christian values, as expounded by the Christian canon. Their
actions are divorced from their character. They carry charisma
without character (Resane 2018):
Leaders of the cloth are expected to combine theoria and praxis.
Pastoral leaders must be trained to think ethically and to act
morally. This may lead to victory par excellence. On the same
tangent, gist and self-discipline (character) should synchronise
in order to foster conviction. Conquering the world starts with
conquering the self. (p. 349)
The shepherds encountered in the Jeremian text are the false
prophets who resembled covetous leaders who used religion
for personal gain. Their lives were surrounded with
pashhur [prosperity] in and through religion, and civil
affairs. In this situation, social justice is impossible, as the
rich make themselves richer at the expense of the poor.
A secular culture, together with its values, has affected the
church more than the church has affected it. The country with
over 70% population claiming to be Christians is infested
with criminal acts such as human abuse (rape, homophobia,
xenophobia), disrespect for fellow citizens (robbery,
housebreaking, car hijacking, etc.) and corruption at high
places (politics, church, business). Corruption permeates all
spheres of society to destabilise societal harmony and
environmental solidity (De Wet & Kruger 2013):
Corruption’s bane does not only lie in a destructive socio-
economic environment with elements like poverty, crime and
displacement as its symptoms. It also corrupts the core of human
relationships, value systems and vision of life. (p. 1)
Four specific areas have been especially alluring to those
whom God has called to the ministry.
1. Materialism is fast replacing the authenticity of the gospel
and integrity in theology and conduct. By definition,
materialism is a tendency to consider material possessions
and physical comfort as more important than spiritual
values. It is the belief that having money and possessions
is the most important thing in life. For some South African
pastors, especially those in the camp of ‘health and
wealth’ gospel, motives of doing ministry are driven not
by God but by gold. Silver and self-interest instead of the
Saviour has become the motivating factors for ministry.
This has become known as commercialisation of the
gospel or of theology. Commercialisation of theology is
broadly defined as what, how and why the Christian
ministry is undertaken (Resane 2017:2). McQuilkin
(1988:358–362) referred to this as the unscrupulous
methods of gaining funds through common deception,
‘bait and switch’, psychological manipulation and/or
asking money in exchange of any item that may bring
charm, luck or success of any sort.
Sadly, too many of God’s ministers view themselves as
corporate chief executive officers (CEO) rather than
shepherd-servants or pastor-teachers of his flock. They
lose personal perspective and usually find themselves
pursuing worldly desires and spending less and less time
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with God’s flock, including their spouses and families.
The fallout has been tragic and devastating. In a business-
orientated society, everything is for sale. In order to gain
financially under the guise of serving the community, the
church commercialised its product. The message is
packaged in variable forms: books, compact discs, digital
versatile discs, live streaming, etc. (Beyers 2015:6).
2. The three P’s (power, position and prestige) that lead to the
second cause of pastoral integrity crisis is egotism or pride.
Personal power, position and prestige are often justified by
sanctimonious desire for bigger and better ministries.
The canonical teaching is that God always opposes pride
in any form (Ja 4:6–10). The pastoral motive that pursues
pastoral integrity sacrificially cares and guards the sheep
and the church given under their oversight.
3. False reporting and exaggeration of accomplishments,
accompanied by lying, tarnishes pastoral integrity and
image. Blowing and fudging the statistics is nothing else
but falsehood with a high and an inevitable cost to pastoral
integrity. Pastoral respect is built on the solid foundation
of truthful behaviour and honest speech (Pr 6:16, 19).
The credibility of our integrity is tested by our reporting
mechanisms. Pastors are worried about numbers to such
an extent that it has become a norm for some to substitute
statistical records for spiritual reality. Many pastoral
conferences and seminars are clouded with questions
such as:
a. How many attended?
b. How many made the decisions?
c. How many took up membership?
d. How much was the offerings or tithes?
Names and numbers have become a church, instead of her
becoming an assembly of the redeemed and the faithful.
There is nothing wrong with numbers, but they must not
drive pastoral integrity.
There is a significant difference between knowing the number
of the sheep and knowing the state of the flock. The good
shepherd is concerned about even one sheep that has strayed
away (Wiersbe 1991:45):
4. Shallow theology and false ideas derived from popular
literature twist genuine spirituality and lead to the failure
of the pastoral integrity and ministry. It is important for
pastors-in-training to receive theologically sound content
that leads to life transparency, reflecting the character of
Christ (Resane 2018):
The moral conservatism or legalistic dictates on teaching and
learning environment are powerful tools of the hidden
curriculum. The legalism students imbibe at the college can
easily be transported to the church life that the graduate will
be teaching. (p. 8)
Shallow and a very narrow theology reduces the Christian
faith to a private and personal concern of individuals and
separates them from the needs and concerns of the wider
society in which the flock resides (Kretzschmar 1997:313).
Just as the shepherd leads the sheep to the green grass and
fresh waters, so should the pastor dwell on biblical
exposition to nurture the church with adolos [unadulterated]
milk that should create more yearning or craving (epipothein)
for more. Personal holiness and sacrifice are the hallmarks
of the dedicated pastors who pursue integrity of the divine
calling upon their lives. Many South African churches are
led by shepherds who aim for ‘feel good’ sermons that are
not biblically based and carry no biblical substance. As a
result, the biblical instruction becomes anaemic, either
overemphasising legalism or emotionalism. Fruitlessness
ensues or quality of spirituality becomes compromised, as
ethics are not central to shepherding activities. Kretzschmar
(2011) correctly pointed out:
Ethics, when rooted in spirituality, bears fruit such as the ability
to understand and evaluate one’s self and one’s context, and to
be motivated to be transformed and to act as an agent of
transformation alongside others. (p. 69)
Once a shepherd/pastor is consumed with a desire for more
in one area (e.g. materialism), it often leads to desire for more
in another (sex). One evangelical writer, Wiersbe (1991:105)
has noted that pride, money and sex are the enemy’s chief
weapons for ruining a ministry, and often they work together.
When a man deceives himself into thinking that he deserves
and is entitled to the power, position and prestige that often
accompany a successful ministry, he may also deceive himself
into thinking that accessibility and entitlement to a liaison
with a woman other than his wife is his option, maybe even
his right. Finally, and most importantly, if a pastor is dishonest
in one area of life (lying and exaggerating accomplishments),
he is likely to be dishonest in other areas, including
faithfulness to the spouse and ultimately faithfulness to
Saviour, the shepherd and the bishop of our souls (1 Pt 2:25). This
inevitably puts pastoral integrity under scrutiny. Wearing a
façade is the worst hypocrisy. Pastors who pursue integrity
become part of the church and walk together in the light with
the church members. Bruinsma (2015) is worth quoting here:
We will not be effective preachers if we sit in our ivory palaces
and do not enter into the life of the sheep. They must be able to
see us as one with them. They must see us as a friend. Not just a
dominie (lord), but a friend. They must hear us speak of our need
for Christ and the joy we receive in our salvation. They must see
in us a humble admission that we too are sinners. We are no
different than they are. When we become a part of the life of the
church, then we will see firsthand the needs of God’s sheep. We
will be able to take God’s Word and bring it to them as one that
they know is applying that Word to himself just as well as he is
applying it to them. (p. 10)
Servant leadership in Mahian
text (20:16)
The last labourers into the field were the first to be called in for
their wages. They received the same share like the ones who
entered the field earlier. Justice was shared proportionately.
Promises were fulfilled to all who were invited. The context is
that the Jews, who are the progenitors of salvation, will be
shocked to realise that the late arrivals, the Gentiles, will
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receive the same treatment like them from God. The parable
was the answer to Peter’s question in Matthew 19:27 – ‘what
then will there be for us?’ Christ answers by explaining that
disciples are to fulfil the task entrusted to them, leaving the
distribution of rewards to him.
The parable encourages faithfulness, for those called into the
ministry (Pentecost 1982):
[M]ay graciously receive a reward equal to that received by those
who were first called to Christ as His labourers and who endured
so much suffering and even death for His name’s sake. (p. 124)
God cares for people more than for things. ‘The owner was
not thinking of profit. He was thinking of people, and he was
using his abundant means to help them’ (Boice 1983:63). This
is what is expected from the shepherd who out of abundance
of capacity goes all out for the welfare of the sheep. ‘Service
of others, not profit for self, must be the Christian principle’
(Barclay 1999:167). Servant leadership is taking people’s
interests to heart and thinking on how to address them.
Unlike the selfish shepherds of Jeremiah 23, the owner of the
vineyard is generous with his possessions and shares them
with those in need. Like Jesus in John 10, he keeps his eye on
the sheep in order to discern their needs.
The unemployed, who almost gave up hope towards the end
of the day, were rescued by being given a short chance to
relieve their destitution. It is never too late to regain sanity,
especially in leadership situation, where one has lost integrity.
The godless world is in destitution, where people wander
like sheep without a shepherd.
They are the naïve sheep – infants that are tossed back and
forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind
of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in
their deceitful scheming (Eph 4:14).
Soluon: Pastoral integrity restored
through proper pastoral theology
Pastoral theology explores the rationale, nature and ethos of
care in the community of faith. In a broader scope, it can be
said that it is a reflective practice of love and service activities.
Pastoral theology is an attempt at enfleshing and refining
acts of love and care engaged in an expression of faith – a
reflection on the caring activities of God and communities.
The pastor in this regard accounts, records, recounts
experiences and believes in the ways that God cares and the
caring activities of the community.
Pastoral theology, which is so very necessary for the
restoration of pastoral integrity, should be critical and
constructive, interpretive and expressive. Its focus is on care,
with the intention of enacting transformative healing.
This calls for the overhaul of the pastoral theology curriculum.
Pastoral training needs some revolutionary dynamism so
that the trainees can grasp the importance of integrity as the
central culture of pastoral calling. The present author fully
agrees with Naidoo (2016) that:
Contemporary voices call on theology to become more
contextual, practical or relevant rather than being a highly
theoretical discipline, with a growing distance between the
academy and the local church. (p. 5)
Pastoral education should always have three fundamental
objectives. These are: (1) ministerial formation; (2) spiritual/
personal formation; and (3) academic formation. In following
the learning theory known as Bloom’s Taxonomy, the
objectives must be expressed in and through hands, heart
and head. In the first and the second objective, the application
is that of Christian standards. In the third objective, the
application is that of the standards of the world. Pastoral
training should never separate the academic from the
practical, the head from the hands and leave the heart to the
peripheral lifestyle. Resane (2018a) pointed to this as follows:
There is some symbiotic relationship between ministerial
formation and moral formation. Knowledge comes through
information, and that may lead to transformation. (p. 354)
Traditionally, pastors’ trainers embraced the dictum: ‘get the
theology right and the conduct will follow’, although it often
does not. Liberation theology inclines itself to the opposite:
‘get the conduct right and the theology will follow’. It is
critical to balance knowledge with practice, otherwise what
is transmitted is no more education but some form of fallacy.
Naidoo (2010) made the following appeal:
Teaching practices are the fundamental processes by which we
learn and become who we are. Pedagogies of formation involve
the integrated development of knowledge and spirituality,
identity and integrity in the professional formation of clergy.
Pedagogies of contextualisation have to do with grounding
pedagogies of formation in the interplay of historical and
contemporary contextual influences. (pp. 347–348)
Pastors and theologians today are more aware of the need to
‘do’ theology, to let the Word speak into the context in which
theology is practiced. Many scholars in the field of theology
are exploring global theology that relates to contemporary
scientific, postmodern and religious thought, as people are
thinking and debating today. Teaching and forming students
of theology in institutions have a similar but additional task
– to relate theology to the people’s taught. This calls for
balance that Naidoo (2010) is concerned about:
The training of ministers involves the cognitive acquisition of
appropriate knowledge, competence in required ministerial skill
and personal character development. (p. 349)
Graham (2002:228–236) correctly stressed that the overall aim
of theological education should be the development of
theological learning; practical preparation for ministry;
spiritual and ministerial formation; and growth in personal
maturity. Issues of character, lifestyle, integrity and godliness
must form part of the ingredients of the aims of theological
education. Student pastors must be taught how to integrate
belief, behaviour, right thinking and right living.
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Pastors should be the people with integrity, the people who
have leadership skills and the people who have a vision for
the ministerial calling they are undertaking. They need to
have fresh ideas to deal with old challenges (conservatism
and legalism), and they should be willing to do the hard
work it will take to rebuild the church in South Africa.
Pastors who walk with integrity are those who opened their
lives to the crucified and the risen Lord in order to become
the people God wants them to be, to care for those closest to
them. They participate in God’s kingdom dream for a
healed and a healing community. Their integrity is noticed
in and through the message they deliver, and with a special
love to bestow. Engagement with the task to which God
calls them brings them alive, releases locked-up potential
and gives real fulfilment (Hudson 2007:112–114).
Pastoral integrity is one of the missing dynamics in the
leadership of many South African churches of today. There is
a critical concern for the return to servant and shepherd
leaderships. These two leadership styles are not operating in
tangents but as some form of symbiosis. Servant leadership
ensures that other people’s highest priority needs are being
served. The ensuing passion of servant leadership is the
growth of those being served. It is identifying and reaching
people at their point of need. A good example is the owner of
the vineyard who saw that the people were in need
of employment, and generously lent a helping hand for them
to meet their needs, regardless of the length of time they
served him. Servant leadership is more of how much can
I put in to uplift someone in need. It is creating an opportunity
for others to lead in order so that they may grow.
On the other hand, shepherd leadership is driven by caring,
feeding, guarding and providing for those one leads. It is
sending others to the front to lead from their strength.
It is both a quality and the action of deliberate efforts to
develop others. It is a leadership sense of responsibility
entrusted by God to map out the way for a brighter and
better future for the emerging leaders.
The two leadership styles are to be carried with pastoral
integrity, which is not governed by materialism, pride, false
reporting and shallowness in theological understanding.
The attitude of servanthood and shepherding is when a
shepherd or a pastor humbles himself in order to serve – to
become the last instead of the first.
Solution proposed here one of credible pastoral theology,
which should be balanced academically and practically.
It should be the theology of ‘do’ and ‘live’.
It is the theology that explores the rationale, nature and
ethos of care in the community of faith. It is a reflective
practice of love and service activities. In diverse components,
it is a theology that is couched in the metanarratives and the
context where it is practised. ‘This calls for a pastor who
understands culture, religious beliefs, contextual variables,
church dogma, local laws and human rights’ (Moyo 2015:25).
Reading through this article, one concludes with paraphrased
assertion of Moyo (2015:24–25) that the pastor is a shepherd
who is a visionary so that the sheep cannot be lost, stolen,
abused, oppressed or starved to death because of the lack of
green pastures. A pastor communicates with the sheep – the
people gifted with wisdom to know their needs, joys and
hopes. Jesus, the chief shepherd, laid out an example that
shepherds (pastors) must cross the cultural barriers to reach
out to the marginalised people, feed the hungry and heal the
broken-hearted. The shepherd must know the sheep and
the sheep must know the shepherd. In this case, leadership
means leading by example, walking the talk and allowing the
flock (congregation) to learn from the lifestyle of the pastor.
Pastoral care for spiritual needs promotes progress,
development and success of good endeavours by the flock.
Indeed, according to Moya (2015):
Servant leadership is key in pastoral leadership. Jesus says the one
who wants to be the greatest amongst the disciples must be the
least … Servant leadership is leadership that serves the needs of
the sheep by shelving sacrificially one’s own needs. (pp. 26–27)
Although, there is abundance of literature on servant
leadership, it is mostly encased in either popular or secular
literature. However, it can be theologically legitimate that
both servant leadership and shepherd leadership can be
located in religious and theological fields. If one considers
the root meaning of religion, which is religio, meaning ‘to
rebind’, then one is led to conclude that servant leadership is
a religious or theological concept of leadership. Greenleaf (in
Spears 2002:231) correctly asserted that: ‘the thing to be done
with religious concern is to rebind humankind to the cosmos,
to heal the pervasive alienation’. This is servant leadership
sans peuret sans reproche (without fear and without reproach).
Compeng interests
The author has declared that no competing interests exist.
Author’s contribuons
The author declares that he is the sole author of this research
Ethical consideraon
This article followed all ethical standards for a research
without direct contact with human or animal subjects.
Funding informaon
This research received no specific grant from any funding
agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Data availability statement
Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data
were created or analysed in this study.
Page 8 of 8 Original Research
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of
the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or
position of any affiliated agency of the author.
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... Character (C) Sacrifice (Mein, 2007); humility (Swalm, 2010); trust (Tenney, 1981); integrity (Resane, 2020). ...
... Who is a leader? Competency (C) A loving caregiver and gatekeeper (Ogereau, 2009); a guide, provider, protector (Laniak, 2006;Swalm, 2010); caretaker (Resane, 2014); and leader (Gunter, 2016;Resane, 2014;Resane, 2020 What is the outcome of leadership? ...
... Target (T) Wellbeing (Bruce, 1983;Borowski, 1998;Hopkins, 1993;Keller, 1970;Matthews & Benjamin, 2005;Page & Volz, 1993;Resane, 2014) & welfare (Resane, 2020;Wright, 2012). ...
The study aimed to analyze the similarities and differences between shepherd leadership and informal teacher leadership. The research method used was content analysis. The results showed that there were several similarities and differences between shepherd leadership and informal teacher leadership based on contents, characters, competencies, methods, and targets (C3MT). Similarities were found in the content of categories and components such as humility (character) and method (community-centered and relationship-oriented). At the same time, differences included content (love), character (sacrifice, trust, and integrity), competency (caring, guidance, and gathering), method (servant-oriented), and target (wellbeing or welfare). Based on this data analysis, three findings of similarities and differences between shepherd leadership and informal leadership have emerged: (1) All teachers are teacher leaders; (2) Teacher leadership role is not a hierarchy or top-down or lord-servant relationship; and (3) Teacher leadership is not a formal title, position, or authority.
... Shallow theology and false ideas derived from popular literature twist genuine spirituality and lead to the failure of the Christian integrity in life and ministry (Resane, 2020). Preaching current events, expressing preferences or being politically in tone is not the same as knowing the meaning of the scriptures and properly exegeting a passage. ...
... It is critical to remember the assignment is to speak the Word of God and not personal opinion (George Wayne Thomas, 2007). It is important for to be man of God to receive theologically sound content that leads to life transparency, and reflecting the character of Christ (Resane, 2018(Resane, , 2020. ...
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The passion and instructions of this book center on the discovery and development of youths for the Christian life and ministry. It expatiates on how youths can discover their cause in life and ministry from the Lord and the steps to fulfil it with eternal profits. In this book, you will learn how your life and ministry can be productive and more productive by showing forth the excellency of God’s endowment, so that you become elevated in life and ministry, as epitome of exceeding grace, power and riches of God on the earth through the enforcement and exactitude of established examples without expediency of evils and excuses, but in earnestness of faith and works toward everlasting eminence in the kingdom of God. Available at:
... Kehidupan etis dari pemimpin kristen merupakan buku yang terbuka, seorang integer. Dalam perspektif servant leadership pemimpin Kristen yang berintegritas memiliki keinginan tunggal yang tidak mencari apa pun selain melayani orang lain secara berkelanjutan (Resane, 2020). Dalam pemahaman ini, integritas juga bukan karakter atau perilaku yang diijinkan tidak dimiliki dan ditampilkan sepanjang perjalanan pemimpin yang dipercayakan memimpin suatu organisasi Kristen. ...
... The above extract touches on the notion that is associated with issues of identity. In other words, if your worldview is that of a shepherd, the way you lead will be shepherding, as influenced by your worldview of a shepherd (Resane, 2020). ...
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In this paper, we present the findings of a qualitative study conducted in 2018 in five schools (three primary and two secondary schools) in a rural community in the south of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (SA). It adopted a case study methodology and explored principals’ understandings and practices of servant leadership (SL), which is assumed to be part of principals’ leadership approaches. A review of literature suggested a dearth of empirical studies in this area in SA despite its importance. The findings indicate that close to three decades since SA became a democratic country, research suggests that the notion and values of putting people first has not taken root. The findings also suggest that principals have a limited understanding of the concept of accountability as an inextricable component of SL. Consequently, accountability to external bodies is prioritized.
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Leadership theorists' have time immemorial endeavoured to conceptualise the best leadership models that would meet the challenges of our ever-changing business landscape. Many theorists have postulated theories on human behaviour that seek to provide insight in effective leadership practices. Lamentably, few have sought to inquire what biblical ancient wisdom has to say on this very important subject. Thus, the purpose of this study is to conduct a systematic review of the shepherd metaphor as a leadership model. Data for this study were gathered from databases of Google Scholar, EBSCO, and JSTOR. A total of 83 articles were identified in these databases while 36 articles were discovered in other sources. 76 articles remained after deleting duplicates, 71 of these articles were examined, 37 articles were excluded, 34 complete articles were chosen to be evaluated, and after 13 complete articles have been excluded, 21 articles ultimately remained for inclusion in the synthesis. Overall, the review revealed that shepherd leadership is a potent metaphoric illustration of leadership relevant to contemporary leadership practice. The metaphor is effective today as it was some 2,000 years ago when it was first practiced.
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Globally, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) also known as Covid-19 affected every facet of human life. Everyone had to find new ways of doing things, as many nations introduced lockdown regulations as a means of curbing the spread of the corona virus that causes Covid-19. Included in the regulations was the closure of places of worship, which challenged the clergy from different denominations in South Africa to imagine how to do ministry in this new context called the "new normal". Not only that, African township Pentecostal-Charismatic pastors, like other members of the clergy, were also expected to guide and encourage church members in these times of uncertainty. In addition, they were also expected to care for church members, the community and for themselves and their families. This article reflects on how African township Pentecostal-Charismatic pastors may minister in the Covid-19 context by applying the modified theologies of Mashau and Kgatle's Ubuntology.
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This article reports on the findings of the Christian youth ministry involvement in community development in the Mayibuye community (Tembisa-Gauteng Province, South Africa). The article employed the use of Richard Osmer’s model of the four tasks of practical theological interpretation in describing and analysing the situation in the Mayibuye community. The tasks sought to give an understanding of what is happening in youth ministry and community development contexts in the Mayibuye community. The study relied on both documentary analysis and in-depth semi-structured interviews. The findings revealed that several socioeconomic challenges antagonize local communities, and young people are the most affected, as they possess a more significant number amongst all community sectors. The findings further discovered that the youth and youth ministry involvement is limited in community development processes amid local communities. In this light, the Mayibuye community has been experiencing a low level of education, gender inequity, unemployment, sexual-related challenges, substance abuse, and illicit conduct amongst the social ills. The study introduced promoting values, enhanced respect for others, driving service with integrity, and more as the benefits of youth ministry involvement in community development. The study also recommended further empirical studies on youth ministry involvement in community development, enhancement of collaboration between local religious communities and government, and engagement of young people in community development processes.
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Generation Z in Indonesia is a demographic bonus that has an essential role in the future. They need to be prepared to face various challenges with strong faith and character. KTB (Growing Together Group) is an effective means to grow one’s spirituality and character. The role of the KTB leader as a shepherd leader is crucial in providing guidance, leadership, and exemplary in good relationships. This study aims to identify the important role of shepherd leadership for Christian teachers in effective discipleship for Generation Z at XYZ Senior High School in South Tangerang and demonstrates the significant impact of shepherd leadership on Christian teachers who make disciples of Generation Z. This study uses a case study model with a qualitative approach. Research subjects were conducted on 8 KTB leaders and 3 KTB members. The instruments used were interviews, FGDs, and document studies. This study indicates that the role of shepherd leadership for Christian teachers has a significant impact on the disciple mentorship of Generation Z to help them have strong faith in Christ, grow in character, and impact others through the talents that God has given.
To lead, you must serve, mentor, and teach others. Servant leadership is the systematic process of developing the needs of servants ahead of those leaders found within private or public institutions. Shepherd leadership individually provides others with empowerment and achievement to perform well. The principle behind effective leadership is based on the interplay of responsibility, respect, care, and working with people, not against people. Ultimately, leadership is about character and substance. Using the distinct characteristics of servant leadership and shepherd leadership is to promote and foster the development of successful individuals and relating well with individuals through care and a strong commitment. Honest and caring concern for others leads to empowerment and emotional support, which inspires the members to embrace the needs of the organization. This creates a mentoring and learning environment in higher education that is conducive to producing optimal performance from their faculty, staff, and students.
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This paper aims to point out the rationale behind the Charismatic pastors' moral flaw, especially in terms of marriage. It proposes some remedial initiatives to be considered and it recommends that the discussions about ministerial preparations or trainings should not only concern skills or methods of doing the ministry, but also include moral formation or character traits of leaders. Moral issues should take the centre stage and pastors must be morally upright before pointing fingers to the secular world or politicians' moral decline. The public discourses should encourage moral values and ethics in general. Ethology, in this context, refers to ethical discourse. This discourse should be an intra-ecclesiastical endeavour where leaders convene to examine the theological understanding of marriage. The article concludes with suggested initiatives to remedy the situation.
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The book of Psalms is the best known, most discussed and most cited book of the Old Testament. Psalm 23 especially is the most loved book of the Psalms. That must have been the reason why it was named ‘an American icon’ and the ‘nightingale of the Psalms’. Two major ways of reading this Psalm are: as a shepherd to a sheep and as God to a human. The author of this article reads Psalms 23 Africentrically, that is, as God to a human. This means that Psalms 23 is read for the purpose of protection, provision, healing and success in all aspects of life, which are the main concerns of African people. It means reading Psalm 23 existentially with African life interest. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article is concerned with biblical studies, African Traditional Religion and culture and African Biblical Hermeneutics. It seeks to challenge the traditional Eurocentric approaches for its methodological approaches that do not make biblical studies adequately relevant to African Christianity. The book of Psalms is used as a perfect example of how it can be interpreted relevantly in Africa. Further implication is that there will be reduction of the Bible and Christianity looking like a foreign book and religion.
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In this article I shall look at the role of mentoring and its relational nature in the ministerial formation of seminary students. Incorporating the relational nature of mentoring in ministerial formation it facilitates the integration of seminary students' classroom experiences and their intellectual imaginations into practical ministerial skills in both the church and community. It is argued that embracing the relational nature of mentoring for ministerial formation in theological seminaries will help seminary students develop an awareness of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for effective practical ministry. It will further help them develop an appreciation for their unique calling, gifting and skills. This article thus looks into how the relational nature of mentoring can foster the ministerial formation of seminary students.
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Commercialisation, technology, and globalisation impact all facets of religion.Commercialisation of religion contributes towards society’s obsession with success. One areathrough which commercialisation manifests itself is in theological education. This isexacerbated by the celebrity cult whereby the leader’s success is measured by wealthyappearance. The current legal accreditation requirements put pressure on the Neo-PentecostalCharismatic ministerial formation. The online courses come at a high price, as they alsopromote the popular literature that is not scholarly insightful. The Neo-Charismatic leadersundermine the formal theological training, since they claim to be taught by the Holy Spirit.
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Africanisation refers to a renewed focus on Africa, a reclaiming of what has been taken from Africa, and forms part of a post-colonialist and an anti-racist discourse. Africanising the curriculum involves developing scholarship and research established in African intellectual traditions. The idea is that this education will produce people who are not alienated from their communities and are sensitive to the challenges facing Africa. However, the idea of Africanisation is highly contested and may evoke a false or at least a superficial sense of ‘belonging,’ further marginalisation, or it may emphasise relevance. This article discusses the possibility of Africanisation and takes further the argument of Graham Duncan of how Africans can reclaim their voices in the space of theological education. It unpacks the idea of Africanisation within higher education in general, examining the rationale behind the calls for Africanisation, followed by a discussion on the implications of Africanisation for theological education. Keywords: Africanisation; theological education; transformation; Graham Duncan
This essay argues for the congruence between Augustine's figural interpretation of the Good Shepherd discourse (John 10:1–18) and the discourse's literary and rhetorical character. John refers to Jesus' figurative speech in the shepherd discourse as παροιμία (10:6). This term designates a mode of figurative discourse in the Fourth Gospel, which is presently obscure and requires a more-than-literal interpretation. By using παροιμία as a compositional technique, John aligns his audience with the individuals in the Gospel narrative, all of whom work to understand Jesus' figurative language. The παροιμία is a literary strategy by which John draws his audience into the Gospel's narrative world and invites them to adopt his theological understanding of all things in light of the Word. In his figural reading, Augustine positions his congregation to mirror the individuals and relationships in the discourse. His figural reading involves a complex interrelationship between doctrinal profession, moral disposition, and ecclesial participation, all of which serve the reader's spiritual transformation by Christ. Resonant with the Gospel's prologue, the economy of the Word connects these realities and provides the theological architecture for the spiritual associations between the biblical prophets, Jesus, the church, and the interpretation of Scripture. Augustine thus develops the literary and rhetorical cues of the Gospel's plain sense into a figural interpretation, which is congruent with the invitation of the Gospel itself.
The servant–leader concept continues to grow in its influence and im pact. In many ways, it can truly be said that the times are only now beginning to catch up with Robert Greenleaf’s visionary call to servant leadership. The idea of servant leadership, now in its fifth decade as a concept bearing that name, continues to create a quiet revolution in workplaces around the world. This chapter is intended to pro vide a broad overview of the growing influence this inspiring idea is having on people and their workplaces.
Developing the next generation of competent Christian leaders with vision and character for the new millennium remains a major concern in church and society. This article explains how and why, within the theological curriculum, pedagogies of formation and of contextualisation are critical to producing quality Christian workers who are grounded in their pastoral identity and have the necessary skills to be relevant to their communities. Pedagogies of formation relate to both aspects of spirituality and holiness and the profession of ministry. Practices of contextualisation should help students develop the skills of social and theological analyses, understand the nature of communities and their dynamics, and the means by which they can be transformed and adapted to social change. Intentionality about formation and contextualisation can provide the integration of learning that can narrow the gap between theological education and Christian practice.