Browsing by Author "Nell, Ian"
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- ItemBuilding missional leadership and spiritual formation : practical theological perspectives on a masters programme(Southern African Missiological Society, 2015) Nell, IanA MTh programme with the focus on building missional leadership capacity has recently been developed at the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University. The programme is a joint effort of the discipline groups of practical theology and missiology and Ekklesia, an ecumenical centre linked to the Faculty of Theology. The focus of the programme is to serve as a learning community for pastors and congregational leaders who want to build their missional and ministerial leadership capacity. Research done in congregations of the Partnership for South African Missional Churches (SAPMC) shapes the focus and content of the different modules in this programme. The purpose of the paper is to do a practical theological analysisinto the background and development of the programme. After giving some insight into the rationale and motivation for starting the programme, the hermeneutical-rhetorical framework of the programme is explained. The paper goes on to give a brief exposition of the content covered in each of the modules, probes into three frames of interpretation (pedagogical, theological and strategic) and ends by reflecting on feedback from some of the first students that recently finished the programme.
- ItemBuite die grense van die bekende : kruiskulturele ervarings onder ’n ewekansige steekproef predikante in die NG Kerk(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2019) Nell, IanOutside the confines of the known: Cross-cultural experiences among a random sample of ministers in the Dutch Reformed ChurchThis article looks at one of the questions posed in the Church Mirror questionnaire to a number of pastors of the Dutch Reformed Church. The question is: Tell us about the best experience you have had in your congregation where believers met across cultural boundaries or did something together? The sample forms part of a ministerial panel conducted every three years among ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church with the aim of finding out what pastors think and do about a number of current church activities. The choice to focus on this question comes against the backdrop of contemporary discourses related to the missional nature of church life and the challenge of multi-culturalism in faith communities. The study is qualitative in nature and falls within the interpretive paradigm as part of phenomenology. The data shows an interesting number of activities identified by the ministers related to multiculturalism and also provides some directions for missional development in the future.
- ItemCalvyn as praktiese teoloog : die bydrae van ’n teodramatiese paradigma(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2011-06) Nell, IanIn order to ask the question about the role and place of a specific discipline (in this case Practical Theology), one must realise where one comes from. This article seeks to answer the question about the role of Practical Theology within the field of theology in conversation with some perspectives offered by the sixteenth-century reformer, John Calvin. It is argued that Calvin lived in a century that scholars regard as one of the golden periods in which the world of the arts and theatre flourished. Hence Calvin’s age was characterised by a dramatic vision of human existence and such a vision also had an impact on his own theological thinking. Against this backdrop, the article engages the question of the role and place of practical theology by proposing a theodramatic approach in which the possibilities that the notion of “re-dramatisation” holds, come to the fore.
- ItemThe changing landscape in religious leadership : reflections from rural African faith communities(2014-05) Nell, Ian; Nell, Elzette"Religious leadership is a contested field of study in the process of finding a footing in the academic world. In Africa, a long history of hierarchical leadership is experienced - not only in the spheres of politics, economics and culture but also in the sphere of religion. Many factors influence the changing landscape in religious leadership. The purpose of this article is to present a descriptive-empirical investigation into some of the processes of leadership transformation by listening, amongst others, to the voices of rural African postgraduate students studying theology at the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. The empirical results are read through the lenses of Social Identity Theory (SIT). As part of the interpretation of the data, four clusters of theories are used as heuristic tools, while different perspectives on leadership in Africa inform the discussion. Codes are used to analyse the data. The codes mould into themes. The themes that emerge are: 1. Uniqueness of faith communities. 2. Tensions between leadership images that exist. 3. New leadership identities are forming; they are … leadership is chosen, relational, in service of the community, and pedagogical. This is also done with a keen interest to see whether the concepts of leadership that are in use are still adequate, and to search for new understandings of religious leadership identities that might emerge."
- ItemCompassionate leadership? : some reflections on the work and life of Michael Lapsley(AOSIS Publishing, 2016) Nell, IanIn June 2007, I had the privilege of attending a Healing of Memories workshop lead by Father Michael Lapsley, one of the founder members of the Institute for Healing of Memories. The purpose of the workshop was to help the predominantly white members of a middle class Dutch Reformed congregation in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town and the predominantly coloured members of a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Elsies River on the Cape Flats, to share their stories of the past with regard to apartheid with each other. Apart from the stories that were told and the sharing of experiences about the apartheid history that took place, I was struck by the way in which Father Lapsley conducted the workshop. There was a deep compassion for all the participants as was embodied through the way in which he treated each of us with respect. But apart from his cordiality in leading the workshop, one could sense a deeper source of compassion, a source revealing a compassionate understanding of God’s presence amidst the violence and turmoil in our broken world. The aim of this article is to reflect on whether one could speak of something like ‘compassionate leadership’, and to take a closer look at the relationship between compassion and God images in the life and work of Michael Lapsley. Special attention will be given to the way in which he exercises leadership through his many involvements related to his own personal story of trauma.
- ItemCompetency-based theological education in a postcolonial context : towards a transformed competency framework(AOSIS, 2020-03) Nell, IanBackground: Assessment of students for ministerial practice is traditionally performed through assignments and oral examinations, which often only concentrate on the knowledge component and outcomes of the programme. Assessing students in this way lead to a view of religious practitioners as people who are not really in touch with their parishioners and communicating in language that is not addressing their needs and this normally leads to a disjuncture between knowledge, practice and context. Disjuncture of this nature signals a need for a broader set of competencies than simply working with and analysing texts in theological education. Aim: The aim of this research is to develop a set of competencies that responds to the reality that the practice of ministry takes place within a rich diversity of postcolonial settings and practices. Setting: The research was done as part of my own interest in developing a competency framework for religious leaders. I am coordinating the Master of Divinity program as well as the Postgraduate Diploma in Christian Ministry at our Faculty of Theology. Both these programs directly relate to the preparation of students for ministerial leadership. Methods: The central research question of this study was formulated as follows: What are the central ingredients for developing a competency framework for ministerial formation from a postcolonial perspective at a research-intensive university in South Africa? The method that was used to answer the research question was a literary study of primary and secondary sources related to a broad set of competencies and then narrowing it down to religious leadership as well as some qualitative empirical research in the form of personal interviews. Results: The research in the article looked at the ways in which a competency framework can help translate generic graduate attributes into a set of competencies that is specific to the field of ministerial training. Some empirical work showed evidence of a growing postcolonial awareness in the development of these competencies. Conclusion: Through this research a competency framework for religious leaders has successfully been developed. The next phase of the research project will be to implement the framework, to have feedback and to make some adjustments.
- ItemEmbodied leadership : paradigm shifts in the leadership of a local URCSA congregation(Ned Geref Teologiese Tydskrif (NGTT), 2011-06) Nell, Ian"In South Africa the religious sector, through its leadership, has in the past and can still make a significant contribution to the transformation agenda, particularly by fostering leadership relationships across ethnic, cultural and socio-economic divides (bridging and linking social capital). Ethnographic empirical research into the leadership narratives of the Vlottenburg Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, Stellenbosch, showed how the leadership in this congregation moved through different leadership paradigms in a relatively short time. An investigation using different theoretical frames was undertaken in an attempt to understand the impact that socio-cultural changes had on the functioning of the leadership in the congregation. The research also investigated the transformative influence the leadership had on the embodied ecclesiology of this congregation in a low income socio-economic environment. Some suggestions are made on how the local leadership can cross cultural and socio-economic divides and contribute to South Africa’s transformation agenda."
- ItemThe end of leadership? : the shift of power in local congregations(AOSIS Publishing, 2015) Nell, IanIn a qualitative study recently carried out by the author amongst ministers in a Circuit of Dutch Reformed Congregations in a suburban context in the Western Cape, South Africa, respondents were asked whether they sensed a ‘shift of view’ concerning the role of leadership during the past 20 years in their respective congregations. The research results paint a picture of ‘the end of leadership’ at least in some form. One can also sense a ‘shift of power’ over the past two decades in these local congregations, indicating the changing dynamics of leadership. There seems to be a shift of power from the individual leader to the team, the group and the network. The aim of this paper is, firstly, to present some of the empirical results and then to reflect on the underlying reasons for this shift of power by giving a description of some broader philosophical and sociological perspectives influencing this state of affairs. This will be followed by a description of, and reflection on, theological developments on the Trinity and power that might help to understand the ‘end of leadership’ in some ways. The paper concludes with some thoughts on the role of power and leadership processes at work in local faith communities.
- ItemAn exploration of fresh expressions as missional church : some practical-theological perspectives(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2014) Nell, Ian; Grobler, RudolphThe mainline churches in Europe and North America are on the decline. Mainline denominations are struggling to reach the unchurched in a fast changing world. New ways of being church and doing mission are on the rise all over the world. Fresh Expressions is one of the ways that mainline congregations (especially in the Anglican Church in England) are seeking to be missional in contemporary culture. Th is study seeks to give a practical theological analysis of Fresh Expressions through some empirical and reflective work. A research team visited some Fresh Expressions initiatives in London and found a pattern of practice that can be described as inviting, accepting and challenging. Secondly, the researchers explore these findings by using a perspective from New Testament ethics, evaluating Fresh Expressions through the lenses of community, cross and new creation. Lastly, a synthesis of the data is made and the researchers also look at possible applications of some aspects of the movement within mainline denominations in South Africa.
- ItemFearing the stranger? : homiletical explorations in a fear-filled world(AOSIS, 2019) Nell, IanThe large number of xenophobic attacks that broke out in different places in South Africa during 2008 was still continuing unabated 10 years later. We were stressed to come to terms with the reality that this occurred in a country that is globally considered to be an example of reconciliation. It is clear that we were confronted by the politics of fear, which were manifested in xenophobia and all the other -isms. In this article, the primary causes of these xenophobic outbreaks were scrutinised and placed within the wider framework of a culture of fear. The central research question is: Why are we still struggling with this phenomenon more than a decade after it first appeared on South African soil? In-depth analysis will be performed on what is lying behind the culture of fear underlying these acts of violence. After exploring some of the factors related to a culture of fear by making use of a sociological frame, the author moved on to answer a second question: How do we, as preachers, researchers and practical theologians, respond in a theological way to the challenges posed by a xenophobic culture in our preaching activities? Finally, the impact of violence and fear on the practice of preaching within a Christian context was discussed.
- ItemThe filling station as a fresh expression of church for consideration in the local congregational context : a practical-theological investigation(AOSIS Publishing, 2017) Nell, Ian; Mellows, SusanThe findings of the Archbishop’s Council in their 2004 report, to the effect that traditional forms of church in Britain are under threat because of changing cultural patterns, emphasise the need to re-think church for our contemporary contexts. The ‘Fresh Expressions of church’ movement is one such initiative identified and approved of by the Archbishop’s Council. This article reports on research undertaken in a practical theological interpretation of The Filling Station, a Christian ministry that has grown significantly in its 10-year history and was formed as a missional endeavour in recognition of declining church attendance in traditional churches in Britain. This work explores whether The Filling Station is a Fresh Expression of church and whether it meets the values of authentic missional churches. In examining whether The Filling Station ought to be considered for import into appropriate local congregational contexts, it enquires whether it satisfactorily addresses prevailing social trends affecting churches, including consumerism and the need for identity.
- ItemGemeentestudies : ’n snel ontwikkelende veld van studie(AOSIS, 2020-09-17) Nell, IanCongregational studies: A rapidly developing field of study. Congregational studies are not so simple to define. This may be related to the relative novelty of the discipline, but also to the variety of people who practise it and the equally wide range of angles to the field. The purpose of this article is to look at various stages in the development of the field of congregational studies in the South African context, and more specifically within the Dutch Reformed Church over the past 50 years. The phases can be described as follows: the initial church-building phase, followed by the phase where the dynamics and identity of faith communities came into focus, and then by a phase in which the focus shifted to congregational studies specifically within the African context and greater focus on the empirical investigation of congregations in the form of various modes of congregational analysis, as well as the advent of a missional approach to congregations. A further and ever-evolving phase is the move towards a more aesthetic perspective of the field, known as a theo-dramatic approach. Together with the last phase, we just entered what I would call the post- COVID-19 phase. One can see massive changes in congregational ministry since the COVID-19 virus started to spread in South Africa. Overnight, ministers and church boards had to adapt to online modes of being and doing church and I am very sure this will be an enormous shift. In future we will certainly speak about church before and after COVID-19. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article looks at congregational studies from a historical perspective and reaches the conclusion that it is still a relatively young and developing discipline that can benefit from an aesthetical approach to the field. This challenges the traditional perspective that congregational studies are only interested in the analysis of congregations. This scientific approach strengthens newer hermeneutical interpretations of congregations. The fields involved are congregational studies, sociology and ethnography through the lens of critical qualitative research.
- ItemHitting the glass ceiling : reflections on women in leadership through the lenses of social Identity(Online Research Journals, 2014-04) Nell, IanIn Africa, we experienced a long history of patriarchal leadership not only in the spheres of politics, economics and culture but specifically also in the sphere of religion. In this regard many women aspiring for religious leadership experience the proverbial “hitting of the glass ceiling”. Many factors are influencing the current state of religious leadership and the accompanying identity formation. The purpose of this article is to do a descriptive-empirical investigation into some of these processes of leadership from feedback of female post-graduate students studying theology at the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. The empirical results will be read through the lenses of Social Identity Theory. This will be done with a keen interest to see if the concepts we are using are still adequate and to search for the possibility of new understandings of religious leadership identities that might emerge and ways in which it can become part of curriculum development.
- ItemIn search of meaning : moving from the prophet's voice to prophecy in community, a South African perspective(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2009) Nell, IanDuring the times of ‘Apartheid South Africa’ prophetic preaching played an enormous part in bringing about the changes this country experienced throughout the last three decades. The prophetic preaching of exponents such as Desmond Tutu, Allan Boesak and Beyers Naudé paved the way for the relatively peaceful transitions South Africans experienced. Within Christian communities it assisted people in their search for meaning and thereby created a framework of understanding for the necessity of socio-political change. Fourteen years into the new dispensation the question remains: Does prophetic preaching still make a difference? Also: Does such preaching help Christian communities in their search for meaning in these changing times? These questions will be addressed in the paper. It will be argued that prophetic preaching could and should play a part in a new search for meaning. This should however be practiced anew and under changed conditions. It will also be argued that a ‘theodramatic paradigm’ provides a helpful practical-prophetic framework in the search for meaning in this regard. Such a framework will be based on the theological model (theorems) provided by classical and recent studies and expanded by applying it to the notion of prophetic performance derived from the Belhar Confession.
- ItemIntegrating graduate attributes into a Master of Divinity programme at a South African university(HESA, 2017) Nell, Ian; Bosman, J. P.Stellenbosch University promotes generic graduate attributes (GAs) as an integral part of its teaching and learning strategy en route to curriculum renewal. The Faculty of Theology targeted the Master of Divinity programme to become the pilot project for implementing GAs as part of a process of programme renewal and held a number of workshops for implementation. The conceptual framework for the research drew on, Cultural Historical Activity Theory. The main research question was: What are the conceptions of lecturers concerning the integration of graduate attributes into a Master of Divinity programme after participation in a process of curriculum renewal? The study entailed semi-structured interviews and the data of the 16 interviews were analysed through qualitative analysis. The curriculum renewal strategy contributed positively to the lecturers’ conceptions of the integration of GAs into the Master of Divinity programme. The gendered and diverse cultural-historical context of the participants (and the students) strongly informed the conceptions of the lecturers. These findings are important for curriculum renewal in the light of cultivating critical and responsible citizenship.
- ItemInvited by God onto the worship stage : developing missional communities through participation in Theo-drama(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2013-09) Nell, Ian; Meyer, NeilWhen the front of the church begins to resemble a stage and the preacher, musicians and other leaders act like performers whilst the congregation takes on the role of an audience, then something is wrong with worship. But not only with worship: something is wrong with the church. A church longing to be missional – that is, a church in which all Christians are participants in the mission of God – needs to express that participation in its worship. Theological dramatic theory shows us how the Trinity acts out a grand narrative in creation, redemption and glorification, and invites us to participate in the Story being performed. This same narrative can be present in worship and can invite our immediate participation. But this cannot happen if either God or the congregation is relegated to the role of mere audience. However, when the Story is told and performed in worship and when the worshipping community is able to participate alongside the Trinity in the Theo-drama of worship, then worship takes on the ability to form that community missionally. Worship is a habit repeated week after week; therefore, its power to transform a community into a missonal congregation is immense.
- Item‘Keeping head above water’ : a case study in religious leadership in a polluted context(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2014-10) Nell, Ian‘We must stop wasting our precious water – and also stop polluting it.’ These are the words of Dr Jo Barnes, Epidemiologist and Senior Lecturer in Community Health at the University of Stellenbosch’s Faculty for Health Sciences. Her research involves the quality of water in rivers and its health impact on communities. It is general knowledge that health services are struggling under the burden of diseases resulting from environmental pollution, particularly water pollution. This potentially avoidable crisis is slowly turning into a disaster. The article draws on a case study done in the informal settlement of Sweet Home Farm in Philippi, Cape Town, with the intent of compiling a descriptive empirical report on the way the community deals with human waste. In a next step, interpretive lenses are used to look with ‘deeper understanding’ at the problem of human waste and pollution. After that, the focus shifts to the problem of a theology of human waste, and the article concludes with suggestions on the role of religious leadership and ways in which leaders can play a constructive role in handling the crisis of a polluted context
- ItemLeadership in Acts through a social capital lens(AOSIS Publishing, 2009-12-14) Nell, IanSocial capital can be defined in various ways. In most of these definitions at least three dimensions can be distinguished. First there is ‘bonding’ (the horizontal relationships between people operating within different social networks and with specific norms and values). The second dimension is ‘bridging’ (bonds that transcend differences in religion, ethnicity, culture and socioeconomic status). This dimension prevents horizontal ties from becoming the basis for narrow and even sectarian interests. Normally, a third dimension called ‘linking’ also forms part of social capital, and ideological aspects come into focus here. This dimension includes aspects such as justice, political power and the equitable distribution of income and property. When leadership in Acts is analysed through the lenses of these multi-focal spectacles, interesting perspectives are discovered that can enrich theories on leadership. These discoveries can also open up new perspectives on aspects of being a missional church in our South African context from within the context of Acts.
- ItemLearning, changing and doing : critical citizenship through ecumenical exposure(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2015) Nell, IanCritical citizenship is becoming a very significant part of the educational pedagogy at Stellenbosch University relating to the vocational, personal and civic lives of the students and lecturers, focusing on critical and reflective thinking in what to learn, believe and do. Making use of the central concepts of critical citizenship as hermeneutical lenses, the main research question of this article is: “Does the exposure through ecumenical tours, as part of the programme in the Postgraduate Diploma in Th eology in Christian Ministry, foster critical citizenship, and if so, in what ways?” Th e purpose of the article is therefore to take a closer look at one component of this specific programme and to see if, and in what ways, critical citizenship is embedded and fostered through aspects of ecumenical exposure. Factors at play in ecumenical exposure include the diversity of the student population, the content of the programme and, especially, the participatory and reflective practices of living faith communities. A pedagogical framework will be used to evaluate whether critical citizenship is enhanced through the ecumenical exposure of the programme.