Original Research

Pastoral leadership in a congregational church setting: The case of the Baptist Convention of South Africa

Thembelani Elvis Jentile
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2170 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2170 | © 2021 Thembelani Elvis Jentile | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 October 2020 | Published: 07 June 2021

About the author(s)

Thembelani Elvis Jentile, Department of Religion Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


This study attempted to explore the role of pastors in a congregational church setting by using the Baptist Convention of South Africa (BCSA) as a case study. The focus is on the type of leadership relevant for such a system. A proper understanding of congregational church governance and biblical pastoral leadership is encouraged. It is argued that the BCSA would do well to adopt an attitude that views ‘congregational church governance’ as ‘sacramental democracy’, where church members view church meetings to be just as holy as any other sacrament, for example, a holy communion or baptism. Such an understanding of congregational governance offers an environment that is conducive to effective pastoral leadership. The pastor relates to the church as a biblical leader, who uses his or her authority to empower others, as the pastor is also under the authority of Jesus Christ as a follower.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The study has significance for Christian Ethics, Practical Theology and New Testament. It is undertaken within (intra-) the Christian leadership discourse, with interest in Applied Ethics that combines Philosophical, Theological and Human Science approaches, especially with reference to (South) African sociopolitical and ecclesiastical contexts. The research builds on the existing Christian leadership discourse.


Baptist; congregationalism; governance; pastoral; leadership; church; democracy; sacrament.


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