Department of Practical Theology and Missiology
Besides its graduate and postgraduate work, the Discipline Group includes the Unit for Religion and Development Research (URDR). This unit has an extensive statistical database on religion in South Africa. It also specialises in researching and alleviating poverty through extensive networking.
The Discipline Group is also a member of the
Network for African Congregational Theology (NetACT)
and houses its administrative offices. NetACT is a network of reformed theological training schools in Southern Africa that aims to develop leadership and contribute to the crucial missional and prophetic role of the church in Africa. Several projects are being undertaken, involving a large number of postgraduate students from Africa. Our research focuses on the areas set out below.
Catechetics and Youth Ministry
Catechetics and youth ministry is about communicating the Gospel to children and young people in a post-modern environment, including issues like identity, substance dependency and the stages in the development and fostering of faith.
Community development concentrates on how the Gospel is best communicated in a particular social context. Community upliftment through entrepreneurship development and Christian leadership and management in disadvantaged communities is a priority. And practical-theological ecclesiology is brought to bear on social and community issues such as poverty.
Congregational Ministry and Church Development
Congregational ministry and church development is about understanding what it means to be a congregation from a missional perspective. Research is aimed at helping congregations to discern their role in making God's Kingdom visible in a broken reality. Congregations are assisted in the management of transition and transformation processes.
Homiletics focuses on preparing sermons, the connection between relevant preaching and liturgy, and public worship. The aim is to foster pointed, yet responsible exegesis and proclaim the Old and New Testament in a way that highlights the relevance of the Gospel today.
Missiology constitutes the inter-religious debate, including the ecumenical problem is prevalent. The witnessing task of the church is seen as a reaching out process within various cultural contexts. The theory and history of missiology are made concrete with reference to the life-world of various cultural groups in the African context.
Pastoral care pays particular attention to the development of a mature faith, a pastoral identity and a Christian spirituality in which the essence of the Christian faith is expressed in terms of living and doing. Special focus areas include hospital ministry and pastoral support of those in physical and emotional pain, marriage and family enrichment, and Africa spirituality.