he Role Of Theological Training In Pastoral Ministry Within The Seventh - Day Adventist Church: A Case Study Of The Theological Seminary At The Adventist University Of Africa (Aua), Rongai - Kenya
This study involves the examination of the role of theological training in pastoral ministry within the Seventh - day Adventist church, a case study of the Adventist University of Africa (AUA). Four objectives were addressed in order to successfully conduct the study. First, to find out the social, economic, religious and academic background of SDA pastors, their motivation for joining ministry and how these factors affected their theological training. Second, to examine the content of curriculum for SDA pastors and teaching methods used so as to find out if the curriculum addressed the various pastoral roles and was sensitive to the African context. Third, to identify the challenges faced by students and lecturers in the course of theological education and the effect of these challenges on pastoral ministry. Fourth, to investigate whether SDA pastors applied what they learnt in pastoral ministry, the challenges they face and draw out insights gained from the study in order to come up with possible solutions. Oral interviews and questionnaires were used to collect the information. Five randomly selected lecturers of AUA and five pastors from Nairobi were interviewed. A total of seventy nine questionnaires were distributed to students at AUA and to pastors working within Nairobi; of these forty four questionnaires were returned. After data collection analysis was done, where the collected information was interpreted to test the hypotheses and meet the objectives of the project. This research applied Mezirow’s and Freire’s transformative learning theories to theological education, in particular in situations where theological education is concerned with the purpose of formation. A field study among Seventh - day Adventist pastors and students of the seminary at Adventist University of Africa (Nairobi – Kenya) found that the transformative pedagogy can contribute to the formational aspects of the theological education programs and help to integrate the fragmented curriculum, and the separation of theology and spirituality thus bridging the gap between educational theory and practice. It can help students and pastors to broaden their concept of ministry to understand that ministry is not just preaching, teaching and church administration. In order for Seventh-day Adventist theological education to bridge the gap between educational theory and practice the study suggests that Seventh - day Adventist seminaries adopt transformative learning methodology. It was suggested that to make the curriculum more contextual it needs to include subjects on interreligious dialogue, social concern, African Religion and culture, finance (poverty, self-reliance), management skills and counselling. To create a conducive learning environment for students and a working environment where pastors can apply theological education effectively the study suggests teachers and church administrators must also be trusting, empathetic, authentic, sincere and demonstrative of high integrity. Mentoring and life coaching can also help pastors apply theological education - mentors can provide invaluable advice and guidance to pastors during and after their theological education. Church administrators should be willing and open to engage pastors in sincere dialogue in matters concerning their remuneration, their welfare, discipline, working conditions, career and/or academic development, ways of generating income, desertions, role of women in ministry and divergent theological views.
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