Imago Dei and its significance for pastoral leadership effectiveness in a global society
Choong Poh Lee, Charmiane
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In recent years, Pastoral leadership has been in crisis as a result of globalisation and its far reaching effects. Added to this is the stereotypical, social image of the word 'pastor' and what it takes to be considered successful in ministry. Related to these factors, the key problem that stands out in this research is that pastoral ministry has been governed by success and of the wrong kind: consumerism and relevance. The objective of this research is to examine the concept of pastoral ministry effectiveness. New Testament texts, and not excluding contributions from the Old Testament, indicate models of pastoral ministry that support the need to redefine and refine our understanding of pastoral leadership effectiveness in ministry in the face of globalisation. In order to accomplish this study, the central theological argument was that pastoral ministry is most effective in a global society when it is rooted in the Imago Dei. The questions raised are: What is the doctrine of the Imago Dei? What role might it play in a concept of pastoral effectiveness now? The importance of the Christian faith and core beliefs cannot be ignored, in particular that we are created in the Image of God. On the fundamental basis of Christ's events it is argued that unless pastors internalise the teachings and examples of Imago Christi by the works of the Holy Spirit in continua, pastoral ministry is not only ineffective but is also a misrepresentation of the theological aspect and also, a distortion of the historical literature of humankind. A precise meaning is sorely needed of what it is to be successful as a pastor, of the limits of human capacity and of the fallen nature and redeemed status of humankind. On this topic, it is posited that the pastor who is set apart by God to shepherd His sheep according to what Jesus Christ has shown and done, is a proper and superior measure of whether Christ incarnate in us correctly characterises the successful and effective pastor. That pastoral conviction and action is essential to true discipleship to God is exemplified through a description of Paul the pastor-apostle. This essence of true discipleship emerges after examination of linguistic material available on the subject; for example, lexicon, commentaries, theological dictionaries and the theological methodology employed. Without denying the advantages brought to human living, the negative impact of globalisation and of pastoral thought and actions are discussed. Investigation into certain of the current practices of pastors and of what has confused and distorted humankind made in the Imago Dei indicates that the assumptions of this thesis are apt. Recommendations are provided to explain the transformation and reformation changes required to counter the potential danger inherent in the corruption of mankind made in the Image of God. Equally significant is the idea that it is the generous sharing of God in Christ and the power of the Spirit in His ministry to the world that form the highly valuable aspects of Pentecost and revival times, not the disciple's effort. Finding is achieved by revisiting these times and by analysis of the literary contributions employed in these two events: Pentecost and revival times. The resultant contributions are integrated into the ongoing development of the Central Theoretical Argument in order to indicate that pastoral ministry effectiveness and success are dependent on the works of the Spirit in continue Furthermore, examination is undertaken of the concepts and models of contemporary scholars who have contributed to the idea of the final restoration of the church and believers and to the idea of the 'very good' of humankind being created in the Image of God and for the glory of Jesus Christ. The ultimate, God's reign and our acknowledgement that our chief purpose is to glorify our Creator, imply our understanding of the nature of pastoral effectiveness in globalisation. The inquiry concludes with the assertion that Jesus Christ, incarnate in us, effects successful ministry and that this is how we become promising pastors who will globalise and become globalising Images of Christ in a rapidly changing world. Findings in this research are considered within the framework of a fresh and comprehensive formulation of pastoral ministry. A concise model is presented in the unique proposal of this research: pastoral ministry is most effective when rooted in the Imago Dei.
- Theology