Original Research

Together towards life and mission: A basis for good governance in church and society today

Cornelius J.P. Niemandt
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 36, No 1 | a1361 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v36i1.1361 | © 2015 Cornelius J.P. Niemandt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 June 2014 | Published: 06 May 2015

About the author(s)

Cornelius J.P. Niemandt, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


In this research, important policy decisions by the 2013 General Synod of the Dutch ReformedChurch on the missional nature of the church were investigated in dialogue with the newmission affirmation of the World Council of Churches Together towards life: Mission andevangelism in changing landscapes (2013). The research concluded that the new policy documentof the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa (DRC) shows convergence with TTL and thatthe DRC finds itself within the current ecumenical discourse on church and mission. The DRCdoes have a comprehensive missional ecclesiology, understanding the church as missionalby its very nature. Church polity is informed by a missional understanding of being church.The DRC shows good governance in the sense that it has embarked on a process to revisethe church order in the light of the policy decisions and in the sense of the foundation laidby revising a number of important articles of the church order. The research also found thata missional approach affirms life in its fullness and allows and participates in the flourishingof creation. The deduction was that good governance in society entails a society where justiceis practised, sustainable lifestyles propagated and respect for the earth practised. The DRC,with its missional understanding of being church, can benefit in its discernment processesand prophetic witness by using an appropriate hermeneutical key in its participation in goodgovernance – to discern where life in its fullness is affirmed. The research found that the DRCfinds itself, together with a broader ecumenical community, on a journey towards life. It doeshave an appropriate basis for good governance in church and society.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The research calls for a change inthe traditional discourse on the role of denominations and brings together insights fromecumenical studies and missional ecclesiology that might assist the reformulation of churchpolity.


Mission; missional ecclesiology; ecumenism; church polity; good governance


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