Original Research - Practical Theology

The retirement crisis of South African Dutch Reformed ministers: An empirical study

Liezel Alsemgeest
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 2 | a4858 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i2.4858 | © 2018 Liezel Alsemgeest | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 October 2017 | Published: 17 July 2018


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Abstract

There has been a backlash from recently graduated proponents of the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa that they are unemployed not just because of dwindling church member numbers, but mainly because contract posts are being filled by retired ministers and not by the proponents. International research suggests that the reason retired ministers continue working is not necessarily because they want to, but because they do not have sufficient retirement savings. The aim of this study was to examine the perceptions of Dutch Reformed ministers who would reach retirement age within the next 5 years, in an effort to establish their preparedness for retirement. The respondents were sent a link to an online questionnaire and 147 useable questionnaires were returned, representing a response rate of 47.7%. The results indicated that almost half of the respondents stated that they would want to continue working in a part-time ministerial post after retirement and that the ministers’ motivation to continue working was directly linked to their lack of financial provision for retirement. A major cause for concern is the high number of respondents who selected the ‘uncertain’ response option for most of the retirement questions, as they are so close to retirement. An intervention to incorporate financial management specifically in theological training is urgently needed.

Keywords

Retirement; Dutch Reformed Church ministers

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