Die rol van die gemeente as 'n gemeenskap van gelowiges in begeleiding tot belydenisaflegging / Thomas Frederick Dreyer
Dreyer, Thomas Frederik
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Although confirmation should be the zenith of a young person's personal attachment to God and the congregation of believers, the exact opposite of this seems to be true when one considers the large numbers of young people that leave the church directly after their confirmation. A literature study shows that attempts to solve this problem have thus far to a large extent focussed on the young people in the process of preparing for confirmation. The purpose of this study is to shift the focus to the community of believers, more specifically to the role of such a community of believers in the guidance of young people in the process of preparing for confirmation, in order to find a solution to the problem. The following research question arose as a result: What is the role of the congregation as a community of believers in the guidance of young members through the confirmation process? The method employed was as follows: Basis-theoretical principles were formulated from Scripture as a result of literature studies and exegesis of relevant passages of Scripture. Meta-theoretical perspectives came to light by utilisation of the auxiliary science, Sociology, amongst other things. The role of the community of believers as a socialising agent of the youngsters was examined. The actual situation regarding the role of the community of believers in confirmation was examined meta-theoretically by means of a literature study on the situation within the broader Reformed tradition of the three Sister Churches, together with an empirical analysis of the situation within the Reformed churches of South Africa. Practical-theoretical guidelines were given following the hermeneutical interaction between the basis-theoretical principles and the meta-theoretical perspectives. The final conclusion is that the congregation as a community of believers is one of the most important agents in the religious socialisation of young people and therefore plays a very important role in preparing them for and guiding them in confirmation. The responsibility of the community of believers lies on the following levels: The shaping of a Biblical vision of the church or congregation that the young people can commit to. The concretion of this vision by means of the persistent practice of the fourfold ministry (“Hebrew text”) while simultaneously involving the whole congregation (young and old) in order that everything the congregation is, says, prays and does, is in congruence. This approach will lend credibility to the community of believers and by doing this the young people will be drawn closer. Focused community pursuit with special attention given to the acceptance of the young people, self-sacrificing and loving service towards the youths, as well as the verbal and practical teaching and instruction of the youngsters. A change in perception and sometimes a change of attitude of heart regarding the inclusion and participation of young people in the congregation. The creation of a culture in which every member earnestly considers his personal religious commitment and is prepared to be held responsible for this commitment. Such a culture of personal religious commitment, together with accountability to that commitment will carry the youths through their own personal commitment within confirmation, while confirming the importance of such a commitment at the same time.
- ETD@PUK