Hampton University Ministers’ Conference: Nurturing Pastoral Imagination in African American Clergy Open Access

Haggins, Debra (Spring 2021)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/gx41mj807?locale=en


The effectiveness and faithfulness of African American pastors in the 21st century will require knowledge, skills, and intuitions that can be fostered by institutions with the proper theological and social ecology. Clergy who possess pastoral imagination have demonstrated the capacity for practicing liberating ministries that enhance the church and the larger community.  Building this capacity is often stymied by isolative one-dimensional learning experiences that do not expand pastoral imagination and creativity. This capacity can begin in graduate theological formal seminary, but requires a lifelong trajectory and commitment that can be provided most effectively by trusted clergy leadership education centers. Findings from this ethnographic qualitative study indicate specific principles which directly influence the identification, nurture, and development of pastoral imagination in African American clergy. Conclusions from this research can inform administrators and faculty in theological higher education, as well as professional development programs of principles that facilitate and support the contextual praxiological intent and application of pastoral imagination in pursuit of ministerial renewal and excellence. The accompanying innovation is a proposal to establish the Hampton University PRIME Research and Study Center. PRIME is the acronym for Pastoral Renewal Initiative for Ministerial Excellence. As an outgrowth of the research findings, the PRIME Center’s research foci will be: pastoral well-being, pastoral imagination, and pastoral agency, with pastoral imagination taking center stage in this study. Recommendations for further research include further contextual treatment of the findings and exploration of the conceptual model developed from this study.


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