Original Research

Leadership in Acts through a social capital lens

Ian A. Nell
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 30, No 2 | a87 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v30i2.87 | © 2009 Ian A. Nell | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 August 2009 | Published: 14 December 2009

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Social 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 socio-economic 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.



leadership; Acts; social capital; faith communities; post-apartheid South Africa


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