Organisational leadership, women and development in the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe: A practical theology perspective

Hts Theological Studies 75 (1) (2019)

Abstract

This article focusses on women and the organisational leadership structures of the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe. The aim is to identify the roles, practices and contributions of women to the developmental agenda in the church. The AFM in Zimbabwe identifies leadership positions in their various assemblies as pastor, elder, deacon and lay worker. From these ranks, the provincial and national leadership is chosen. The access to and participation of women in these offices and leadership positions will be investigated to ascertain their input to the development of the church and perception of women in the society. The article discusses the mechanisms for the election of leadership in the AFM in Zimbabwe. It analyses leadership succession and leadership roles within the AFM in Zimbabwe from the perspective of gender equity and the involvement of women in policy-making, decision-making and the management of the church. Four aspects of the Exploratory Descriptive Normative Action research model were utilised from a practical theology perspective. The article shows that women do not have access to top leadership positions in the AFM in Zimbabwe even though there are no explicit policies that regulate their exclusion. It highlights their contribution to the development of the church despite this exclusion and engages critically with the unspoken assumption that women are not fit to take up the presidium offices and develop the AFM. The article finds that unquestioned patriarchal discourse contributes to women’s invisibility, which results in their not being taken into consideration when choices are made to elect people for higher leadership positions in the church.

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