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 ANA/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.
Die outeur wil graag vir Joyce Jordaan, Departement
Statistiek by die Universiteit van Pretoria bedank.