Community-based discipleship : a missional approach to urban African youth, the case of Nairobi, Kenya

SUNScholar Research Repository

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Simon, D. Xolile
dc.contributor.author Rangoonwala, Abid
dc.contributor.other Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Practical Theology and Missiology. en
dc.date.accessioned 2012-02-03T09:51:23Z
dc.date.available 2012-02-03T09:51:23Z
dc.date.issued 2008-03
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/19545
dc.description Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2008. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In response to the declining interest and participation of youth in urban churches in Africa, with a specific focus on churches in Nairobi, this study investigates a missiologically related problem of ecclesial praxis that seems to ignore or fail to address the social needs of youth, particularly concerning the need to belong. The churches in Nairobi, as in other parts of Africa, have inherited ecclesial praxis that was shaped in the dualistic cultural context of the Western Enlightenment and the clerical paradigm of Christendom. This dualistic view of reality has dichotomised the understanding of the gospel by compartmentalising it into a spiritual sphere while failing to address the social and cultural dimensions of human life. Consequently, the church hermeneutically understands its primary mission as saving souls and meeting the spiritual needs of its members through the institution of clergy and laity. In order to address the problem, the study proposes the praxis of discipleship based on a community approach that correlates three integrated dimensions of mission (worship, fellowship, and intentional mission) with a community structure guided by specific urban context, cultural values and missional theology. This constitutes the thesis of this research study and also provides a methodological framework for organising the study. In the first chapter, discipleship is conceptualised in the comprehensive missional understanding of the church as missionary in its nature and calling, sent by Christ into the world for the redemption of the world. In that sense, the proposed discipleship community must be understood as missionary in nature. The second chapter focuses on understanding the urban context. It examines some of the urban features of Nairobi that could be typical of other African cities, like rapid urban growth, high proportion of youth in the population, housing problems, unemployment, increasing poverty, family disintegration, crime, violence and disease. In that context, the study assessed the church’s youth ministry by gathering primary empirical data through observation and personal interviews with youth pastors and leaders. The findings confirmed that most youth ministries are based on the clerical paradigm and are driven by programmes. Participation by youth has been found to be low in most churches. Many churches do not seem to address their real needs. Often the youth ministry is seen as a marginal ministry in the church. In response to understanding the community from an African cultural perspective, the study investigated the traditional African community on the basis of literature and by using the ancestral anamnesis (remembrance of ancestors) as the interpretative framework for analysis. In traditional African society, the community is understood as the heart of the culture, the stage where the whole of life is dramatised. Even those who live in modern urban contexts carry with them African community values which have their origin in the traditional African community. Some of the African community values were measured among the urban youth through a survey questionnaire; most of the young people regarded these as important in their lives (Chapter Five). Empirical findings have shown the validity of considering cultural factors in constructing any kind of model for community-based discipleship. The importance of community was also validated theologically and missiologically by demonstrating the normative praxis of discipleship through community structure in the life of the early church. Theologically, the early church understood itself as the community of Christ on the basis of the concept of koinonia, a fellowship based on common faith in Christ. Missiologically, the church perceived itself from its inception as a missionary community sent into the world to witness to the gospel. The research demonstrated that community was the means through which the normative praxis of discipleship formation was carried out in the early church. There was no sense of dichotomy between the spiritual and social dimensions of the gospel as it is normally understood in today’s church. The importance of community as a means for the formation of identity and character was demonstrated through this having been the cultural norm in traditional African society and the theological norm in the life and praxis of the early church. Through the empirical research, the study also confirmed the positive perception of community values among the urban youth. Based on the evidence that was gathered, the study confronts the church in Nairobi and elsewhere to examine its present praxis critically and consider approaching its youth ministry from a community perspective in response to the present missiological problem in youth ministry. In order to construct youth ministry on community foundation, the study suggests a model called the covenant model. It takes the form of a small group existing as a part of the local church but coming together specifically as a community guided by a discipleship covenant that integrates three missional dimensions. The group seeks to adapt in its specific urban context and integrate cultural values that complement the gospel. The covenant model assumes that the urban context is complex and diverse. It allows each group to develop its own shape and features, informed by its context, culture and tradition. It calls for diversity in cultural and contextual expression while maintaining unity as God’s people in Christ. The early church exemplified it in being one, holy, catholic and apostolic. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In reaksie op die afname in belangstelling en inskakeling van die jeug in stedelike kerklike aktiwiteite in Afrika, toegespits op gemeentes in Nairobi, wil hierdie studie ’n missiologiesverwante probleem ondersoek. Die vraag is of die ekklesiologiese praksis daarin slaag om te beantwoord aan die die jeug se sosiale behoeftes en spesifiek die behoefte aan gemeenskap, om te behoort aan ‘n sosiale groep. Die kerke in Nairobi, soos in ander dele van Afrika, het ’n ekklesiologiese praksis geërf wat gevorm is aan die hand van die dualistiese kulturele konteks van die Westerse Verligting en die geestelike paradigma van die Christendom. Hierdie dualistiese uitkyk op die werklikheid het ’n tweeledige karakter aan die evangelie verleen. Aan die een kant is daar ’n spirituele sfeer, aan die ander kant word die sosiale en kulturele aspekte van menslike bestaan kwalik verdiskonteer. Gevolglik interpreteer die kerk haar primêre missie hermeneuties as synde die red van siele en die aanspreek van die spirituele behoeftes van haar lidmate met die gevolg dat lidmate leke bly en die kerk institusionaliseer. In ’n poging om hierdie probleem aan te spreek, stel die studie ’n praksis van dissipelskap gebaseer op ’n gemeenskapsgeoriënteerde benadering voor, waardeur drie geïntegreerde dimensies van gestuurdheid (aanbidding, gemeenskap van die heiliges en die bewuswording van gestuurdheid) aan die orde kom. Die gemeenskapsgeoriënteerde benadering se strukturele ontwikkeling word ontwikkel op grond van die ter sake konteks, kulturele waardes en missionale teologie. Dit vorm die basis waarop die navorsing van hierdie verhandeling gerig is, insluitend ’n metodologiese raamwerk vir die aanpak van hierdie studie. In die eerste hoofstuk word die begrip dissipelskap gedefinieer teen die agtergrond van ‘n omvattende missionale verstaan van die kerk as synde missionêr in haar aard en roeping. Christus het die totale verlossing van die wêreld in die oog en die kerk het daarin ‘n wesenlike rol. In dié sin word die dissipelskapsgemeenskap beskou as wesenlik missionêr. Die tweede hoofstuk fokus op die verstaan van die stedelike konteks. Daarin word tendense kenmerkend van Nairobi wat ook ten opsigte van ander Afrika-stede tipies kan wees, ondersoek. Voorbeelde hiervan is versnellende verstedeliking, pro-rata ’n hoë persentasie jong mense, behuisingsprobleme, werkloosheid, toenemende armoede, gesinsverbrokkeling, misdaad, geweld en siekte. Binne dié konteks en aan die hand van empiriese data verkry deur observasie en persoonlike onderhoude met jeugdiges, pastors en leiers, het die studie die kerk se jeugbediening ondersoek. Dit het aan die lig gebring dat die jeugbediening basies binne ‘n predikantskerkparadigma asook programgedrewe funksioneer. Deelname van jongmense in kerklike aktiwiteite is laag. Gemeentes spreek nie die jeug se basiese behoeftes aan nie. Die jeugediening skyn eerder ‘n terloopse bediening te wees. Ten einde gemeenskap vanuit ’n kulturele Afrika-perspektief te verstaan, is voorvaderlike anamnese (terugroeping in die herinnering) as interpretatiewe raamwerk in hierdie studie aangewend. Dit is gedoen op grond van ’n toepaslike literatuurstudie. Volgens die tradisionele Afrika-samelewing word die gemeenskap beskou as die hart van die kultuur, die plek waar die lewe sigself afspeel. Selfs diegene wat hulself in moderne voorstedelike omgewings bevind, dra die Afrika-gemeenskap se waardes wat hul oorsprong in die tradisionele Afrikagemeenskap het met hulle saam. Van hierdie waardes is geïdentifiseer deur vraelyste wat onder die voorstedelike jeug versprei is - die meeste van die jongmense het hierdie waardes hoog aangeskryf (Hoofstuk vyf). Empiriese bevindinge het getoon dat die inagneming van kulturele faktore noodsaaklik is vir die skep van ’n model vir ’n gemeenskapsgeoriënteerde dissipelskap. Die belangrike rol van die gemeenskap is ook teologies en missiologies gestaaf aan die hand van die normatiewe praksis van dissipelskap in die gemeenskapstruktuur van die vroeë kerk. Teologies het die vroeë kerk haarself beskou as die gemeenskap van Christus op grond van die begrip koinonia, ’n gemeenskap gebaseer op ‘n gedeelde geloof in Christus, Missiologies het die kerk haarself van die begin af ervaar as ’n missionêre gemeenskap wat in die wêreld ingestuur word om die evangelie uit te dra. Navorsing het getoon dat die normatiewe praksis van dissipelskap in die vroeë kerk binne gemeenskapsverbande uitgedra is. Daar was nie toe sprake van ’n tweeledigheid tussen die spirituele en sosiale dimensies van die evangelie soos dit vandag algemeen in die kerk voorkom nie. Die belangrike rol van die gemeenskap ten opsigte van vorming van die identiteit en karakter van sy lede is gedemonstreer deurdat dit die kulturele norm in tradisionele Afrika en die teologiese norm in die lewe en praksis van die vroeë kerk was. Deur empiriese navorsing is die positiewe gesindheid van die voorstedelike jeug aangaande die gemeenskapswaardes gestaaf. Op grond van bewyse versamel, konfronteer dié studie die kerk in Nairobi en elders om die heersende praksis krities te ondersoek en dit ernstig te oorweeg om in die lig van die heersende missiologiese probleem ten opsigte van die jeugbediening, dié bediening vanuit ’n gemeenskapsgeoriënteerde perspektief te benader. Ten einde die jeugbediening op ’n gemeenskapsbasis te vestig, stel hierdie studie ’n model bekend as die verbondsmodel voor. Dit kom daarop neer dat ’n kleingroep as deel van die plaaslike gemeente as ’n gemeenskap saamkom, saamgesnoer deur ‘n dissipelskapverbond wat die drie geïntegreerde missionale dimensies van die kerk se roeping verdiskonteer. Die groep streef daarna om aan te pas in hul bepaalde voorstedelike konteks en om kulturele waardes wat by die evangelie aansluit, in hul lewenswyse te integreer. Die verbondsmodel maak voorsiening vir die kompleksiteit en diversiteit van die voorstedelike konteks. Dit laat elke groep toe om ’n eiesoortigheid op grond van konteks, kultuur en tradisie te ontwikkel. Dit vereis diversiteit ten opsigte van kulturele en kontekstuele uitdrukking, terwyl die eenheid as God se mense in Christus gehandhaaf word. Dit is deur die vroeë kerk gedemonstreer in die funksionering as een, heilige, katolieke en apostoliese kerk. af
dc.format.extent xv, 339 leaves
dc.language.iso en_ZA en_ZA
dc.publisher Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
dc.subject Youth -- Religious life -- Kenya en_ZA
dc.subject Church work with youth -- Kenya en_ZA
dc.subject Christian life en_ZA
dc.subject Theses -- Missiology en_ZA
dc.subject Dissertations -- Missiology en_ZA
dc.title Community-based discipleship : a missional approach to urban African youth, the case of Nairobi, Kenya en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA
dc.rights.holder Stellenbosch University en_ZA


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record