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Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 2074-7705
versão impressa ISSN 1609-9982

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MARAIS, Neels. Integration and coordination of ministries in identity finding and identity development. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2018, vol.39, n.1, pp.1-7. ISSN 2074-7705.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ve.v39i1.1869.

In this article Nel's argument that ministries (in the building up of the local congregation) need each other to facilitate the discovery and development of identity is tested. The role that the integration and coordination of ministries in a systems approach play in the discovery and development of a missional congregation's identity is investigated and research is done to see whether scholars agree with Nel's theory that all the ministries can facilitate identity finding and identity development. This empirical research (quantitative as well qualitative) was conducted among the ministers of the Highveld Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church. Hundred and thirty nine of the 144 ministers agreed to take part in the quantitative research, followed by partly structured interviews with 16 randomly selected ministers. During the empirical study (which formed part of PhD research) every attempt was made to obtain data in connection with the understanding ministers have regarding the building up, identity and missional being of a congregation as well as the integration and coordination of the ministries that are present in their congregations. Most of the ministers are aware of the fact that they need to develop their congregations as missional congregations, but the ministers do not always have the knowledge and experience to make the move. It was clear that not all the ministers understand the role that the ministries play in identity finding and identity development. Nel's theory has therefore been affirmed by the empirical research. The research has shown that some of the ministers seem to show a flawed understanding that identity is a relational reality. At the same time there exists quite possibly a defective understanding that a congregation's reason for existence originates in its identity, and it is clear that the role that the integration and coordination of the ministry play in the discovery and development of the identity are not fully understood. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: Starting from within the framework of Practical Theology, I leaned into Dogmatics to learn more about the identity of the church. Dogmatics led me to a missiological ecclesiology that forms part of the study field of Missiology. The integration and coordination of ministries in a local congregation is basically systems theory. Systems theory is an interdisciplinary study of systems.

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