Discipline of Practical Theology

Prof Gordon E Dames

College of Human Sciences
School of Humanities
Tel: +27 12 429 2830
E-mail: damesge@unisa.ac.za


  • D.Th. (Theology) (University of the Western Cape) (1999);
  • M.Th. (Theology) (University of the Western Cape) (1990);
  • Honours B.Th. (Theology) (University of the Western Cape) (1988);
  • B.Th. (Theology) (University of the Western Cape) (1986)

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Fields of academic interests

  • African contextual transformational practical theology
  • Ethnographic ecclesial studies
  • Life narrative and practice-oriented research in leadership and spirituality
  • Contextual transformational Christian leadership education

Field of Specialisation

  • Practical Theology and Missional Theology
  • Research Methodology
  • Ethical, Spiritual and Christian Leadership
  • Christian Religious Education and Pastoral Care and Counselling


  • 2017. Towards a contextual transformational practical theology for leadership education in South Africa, Zürich: LitVerlag
  • 2014. A contextual transformational practical theology in South Africa, AcadSA Publishing CC

Journal articles

 Book chapters:

  • 2016. Reconstructing the antiapartheid lived narrative of a liberation theologian, Allan Aubrey Boesak, In: Festschrift in honour of Allan Boesak:  A life in Black liberation Theology, Edited by CD Flaendorp ▪ NC Philander ▪ MA Plaatjies van Huffel. Stellenbosch: SunMedia
  • 2014. ‘A Multicultural Theology of Difference: A Practical Theological Perspective’ in Churches, Blackness, and Contested Multiculturalism: Europe, Africa, and North America, edited by R. Drew Smith, W. Ackah and A Reddie, Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, 202-212.


 Journal articles:

  • 2021. Transformative possibilities of pedagogics for Christian leadership in Higher Education – a South African Practical Theology perspective. Black Theology: An International Journal pp. 1-38.


  • 2020. Scaffolding leadership dispositions for being radically truthful in the civitas dei and the civitas mundi: An imaginative educative ethical-justice praxis. Stellenbosch Theological Journal , (6)1:305–318. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2020.v6n1.a16
  • 2020. Biblical vistas of brokenness and wholeness in a time such as the COVID-19 pandemic. HTS Theological Studies, Special Collection: The use of the Bible in Theology. Pp. 1-24
  • 2020. Didactic scaffolding leadership pedagogy: A case study of learning through participation. Acta Theologia 40(1):28-49. http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/23099089/actat.v40i1.3.
  • 2018. Towards a multi-method approach to addressing violent protest action in South Africa: A practical theology perspective, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 74(2), 4788. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i2.4788  
  • 2017. Practical theology as embodiment of Christopraxis-servant leadership in Africa. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies; Vol 73, No 2 (2017), 9 pages. doi: 10.4102/hts.v73i2.4364   
  • 2017. Reconstructing the Anti-Apartheid lived narrative of a Black Theologian, Allan Aubrey Boesak. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae , https://upjournals.co.za/php/SHE:1--22.
  • 2014.  ‘The pedagogical role of multicultural leadership in post-apartheid South Africa, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 70(1), Art. #2106, http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2106
  • 2014. ‘Spiritual and ethical transformational leadership: Critical discourse analysis within a practical theology praxis’, Koers Bulletin for Christian Scholarship 79(2), Art. #2116, 8 pages. http:// dx.doi.org/10.4102/koers. v79i2.2116.
  • 2013. ‘The healing of life within the HIV and AIDS pandemic: Towards a pedagogical reframing of paradigms concerning dysfunctional civil, health and ecclesial systems’, HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies 69(2), Art. #1256, 5 pages. http:// dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts. v69i2.1256
  • 2013. Knowing, believing, living in Africa: a practical theology perspective of the past, present and future, HTS Theological Studies. Volume 69, Issue 1, 9 pages. doi: 10.4102/hts.v69i1.1260
  • 2012. The relevance of pedagogical narrative maps: The Confession of Belhar as a practical theological narrative searching for a pedagogic-therapeutic methodology. NGTT, 53(1): 25-38. This article is available at http://ngtt.journals.ac.za.
  • 2012. Enhancing of Teaching and Learning through Constructive Alignment. Acta Theologia, 32(2): 35-53, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/actat.v32i2.3, http://www.uovs.ac.za/ActaTheologica
  • 2012. Intercultural Theological Education: Towards a New Future for Theology Faculties at Higher Education Institutions in South Africa. Scriptura, 110(2): 237-248.
  • 2010. An Eschatological Journey of Lifehood. Ronald’s Narrative from a Pastoral Perspective. NGTT. Vol 51 (3 & 4).
  • 2010. The dilemma of traditional and 21st-century pastoral ministry: Ministering to families and communities faced with socio-economic pathologies, HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies 66(2), Art. #817, 7 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v66i2.817. This article is available at: http://www.hts.org.za
  • 2009.  ‘Quo Vadis’ Practical Theology? A Response. Scriptura. Vol 100.
  • 2009. Encountering God’s faithfulness in the process of loss. Practical Theology  in South Africa. Vol 24(2).
  • 2008. Missional Encounter of the Gospel Engaging Cultural Edges as Agents of Adaptive Change. Practical Theology in South Africa. Vol 23(1).
  • 2008. Ethical Leadership in and through the Family, Religion and Youth. NGTT. Vol 49 (3 & 4).
  • 2008. Ethical Leadership in and through Labour, Business and Politics. NGTT. Vol 49 (3 & 4).
  • 2008. The Ethical Leadership Project. It’s Role as a key Contributor for a Morally Transformed Society. NGTT.  Vol 50 (1 & 2).
  • 2007. New Frontiers for Mission in a Post-Modern Era: Creating Missional Communities. Missionalia. Vol 35(1).
  • 2006. Practical Catechesis for a Postmodern Faith Community.  Ploeger’s Religious Pedagogic Methodology for Practical Catechesis.  Practical Theology in South Africa. Vol 21(1).
  • 2005. A Holistic Practical Pedagogical Moral Approach.  The Lord’s Prayer as an Example for a Moral Formative Christian Practice. Practical Theology in South Africa. Vol 20(1).
  • 2005. Designing a Religious Pedagogical Communicative Methodology. A Transformative Reciprocal Methodology is proposed for Religious Pedagogical work with Gangsters. NGTT. Vol 46 (3 & 4).
  • 2004. Aspects of a Discipleship-Pedagogic in the Formation of Disciples in a Postmodern Society. Practical Theology in South Africa. Vol 19(1)

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

  • International Association of Practical Theology (IATP): 2016-
  • Acting Discipline Leader of Practical Theology 2016
  • Guest Lecturer: Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 2015
  • Christian Leadership Cluster (UNISA) 2012-2013
  • Church Activism and Contested Post-Racialism in South Africa, Working Committee (Unisa): 2011-
  • Guest lecturer: University of the Free State, 2011/08. Masters and Honours Teaching.
  • International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice (University of the Free State): 2010-2011
  • South African Institute for Missional Church (Director): 2004-2006;
  • The International Missional Think Tank: 2006;
  • The Society for Practical Theology in South-Africa: 2002-2015 - ;
  • Secretary of the Society for Practical Theology in South-Africa: 2010-2012 -;
  • The Southern African Missiological Society: 2007; 2011; 2012-;
  • Research Team of the Partnership for Missional Church: 2004-2006;
  • Leadership Development Team (Buvton): 2005-2006;
  • Faith Formation Research (Buvton): 1997-1998;
  • Moral Formation Research (Buvton): 1998-2001; and
  • Learning Research Group (Communitas): 1999-2001.


  • School Leaders Research Project: Lived Spirituality and Life Narrative Research
  • Contextual practice-oriented research (Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 2015)
  • Allelon Center for Missional Leadership Summer Conference (Idaho, 2006)
  • Missional Engagement with Western Culture Think Tank (Allelon Foundation; Eagle, Idaho, 2006).
  • Designed 3 pull-up banners: Practical Theology in the 21st Century; Developing practical theologians and spiritual and value-based leaders for Africa’s future; Developing practical theologians and spiritual and value-based leaders for Africa’s future. Why study Practical Theology at Unisa? (Unisa, 2012)