Original Research - Special Collection: Diakonia

Missionale diakonaat: Van fragmentasie na integrasie en impak

Nioma Venter
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 44, No 1 | a2774 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v44i1.2774 | © 2023 Nioma Venter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 November 2022 | Published: 18 April 2023

About the author(s)

Nioma Venter, Department of Practical Theology and Mission, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The Dutch Reformed Church has a history of social care and development through its professional social service organisations, and of goodwill through its congregations and members. Since 2002, declarations of intent for transformative service from the church in all its facades have testified to the Dutch Reformed Church’s commitment to contribute to a better life for everyone in South Africa. However, it appears in practice that the Dutch Reformed Church’s response has fallen into silos and that it has been challenging to accomplish collective impact.

The publication of the Dutch Reformed Church’s Framework Document for Missional Transformation (2013) has increased the need for an in-depth discussion about the diaconate. An outdated diaconate policy (1994) exposed problems with which the Dutch Reformed Church is struggling. It showed, among other things: the ecclesiocentric focus of the diaconate; a theological departure that has not kept pace with the development of a missional theology; and the disposition for separate operatives between the different forms of ecclesiastical diaconate.

The aim of this article is to react to the potential for collaboration between different forms of the diaconate in the Dutch Reformed Church. The Research Strategy for Missional Transformation (2018) provides an approach that allows clarification of a research problem that leads to the design of prototypes in the next phase of research. The research shows that collaboration should be approached in a nuanced way, and that practice theory for integrated diaconal ministry should be further researched and developed.

Intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary implications: Theological development contributes to a new appreciation for a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to diaconal work.


Keywords

diaconate; missional theology; social work; integration; partnerships; social spaces; early childhood development.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

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