Original Research

Theological education and character formation: Perceptions of theological leaders and students

Vhumani Magezi, Walter Madimutsa
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 1 | a8543 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i1.8543 | © 2023 Vhumani Magezi, Walter Madimutsa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 February 2023 | Published: 25 August 2023

About the author(s)

Vhumani Magezi, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the SA Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Walter Madimutsa, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the SA Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


Character formation is a mandatory requirement for all theological leaders and students. The purpose of this empirical and field research is to understand the perceptions of theological leaders and students regarding the role of theological education in ministerial character formation. The study seeks to discover the difficulty that theological institutions face as they develop and implement moral formation programs. Incongruencies tend to exist between what theological leaders do in the preparation of students for ministry and what they finally produce as ‘the product’ of their efforts. The study analysed results from interviews with theological leaders and students regarding their perceptions of the role of theological education on character formation. The finding of the study was that college leaders and students showed different perceptions, raising questions on ‘what is theological about theological education’. Theological students viewed character formation as key in ministerial formation, whereas theological leaders believed that they played pivotal roles in character formation. Theological students underscored the importance of college leaders as models, the role of churches as essential partners for character formation and the place of co-curricular activities in ministerial formation programs. The study concludes by underscoring key theological implications that are drawn from the study. First, the major contributions that both theological leaders and students make to the ministerial formation process. Second, the need to have ministerial leaders who have skills to minister in diverse contexts. Finally, the need for clarity of purpose of any theological education program.

Contribution: This article contributes to the knowledge about the role of theological leaders and contribution of theological students to character formation. The theological leaders and students are leaners and teachers in the ministerial formation process. Sound theological education practice revolves around co-construction of knowledge through the interaction of the students, their college teachers, homes, churches, and the wholesomeness of seminary life and its curriculum.


Character; character formation; ministerial formation; theological education; theological leaders; theological students.

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Crossref Citations

1. Character formation and leadership development: A symbiotic bond for the practice of theological education
Vhumani Magezi, Walter Madimutsa
Theologia Viatorum  vol: 47  issue: 1  year: 2023  
doi: 10.4102/tv.v47i1.206