The church has the privilege of participating with God in his saving mission in a broken and
suffering world, also known as the missio Dei (Bosch 1991:8–11, 390–393). This is its core,
missional identity. However, many local churches are facing an identity crisis at their very
core. The reasons are numerous. This article seeks to define, in a theoretical and theological
way, the core identity of the local church and in the light thereof to explore two areas: (1) how
the local church and particularly its pastor view the core identity of the local church, and
(2) whether the identity of the local church is affected through the ministry of
preaching – preaching that takes into specific consideration the aspects of hermeneutics and
context. The research indicates that while the church may have an understanding of its core
identity – certainly when it answers the questions ‘who are we?’ and ‘what are we called to
be and/or do’ – it lacks significantly in its missional identity. Contributing factors are
mentioned and remedial action is proposed.
This is a contribution of C.L towards a PhD. In Practical
Theology with the University of Pretoria, in the field of
congregational development. M.N. was the project supervisor.