Original Research

Servant leadership and shepherd leadership: The missing dynamic in pastoral integrity in South Africa today

Kelebogile T. Resane
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 1 | a5608 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i1.5608 | © 2020 Kelebogile T. Resane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 June 2019 | Published: 12 March 2020

About the author(s)

Kelebogile T. Resane, Department of Historical and Constructive Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


This article aims to give a full definition of servant leadership and shepherd leadership by comparing and contrasting the two texts of Jeremiah 23 and John 10. The notion of ‘shepherd’ or ‘shepherding’ is analysed and brought into the current debate on servant leadership. The shepherd metaphor used in the two passages is contextualised to the South African pastoral leadership situation, especially with regard to pastoral integrity. The status of pastoral leadership in the South African church community is highlighted as a challenge to be considered from the perspective of servant leadership proposed in Matthew 20:16. The presenter would like to conscientise the Christian community that integrity in the areas of caring, feeding and protecting the flock should be a driving force towards pastoral integrity. The exegetical findings of the shepherd model are applied to the pastoral leadership integrity. An appeal is made to the ecclesiastical community to return to the fundamentals of leadership by embracing servant leadership as an ensuing model for pastoral leadership integrity. The article contributes towards the knowledge of the definition, role and understanding of pastoral leadership defined through servant and shepherd leadership concepts. Its academic value lies in the fields of church leaderships, ethics and biblical teachings.


servant; shepherd; leader; pastor; church; integrity


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