AN EXPLORATION OF THE SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT OF BURKINABÉ CHRISTIAN AND MISSIONARY ALLIANCE PASTORS: A MIXED METHODS STUDY IN ADULT EDUCATION

Open Access
Author:
Knisely, Andrew Jon
Graduate Program:
Adult Education
Degree:
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
February 17, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Elizabeth Jean Tisdell, Dissertation Advisor
  • Elizabeth Jean Tisdell, Committee Chair
  • Patricia Angelica Cranton, Committee Member
  • Melody M Thompson, Committee Member
  • Martha Jean Strickland, Committee Member
  • Gary Kuhne, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • adult education
  • spirituality
  • spiritual development
  • African studies
  • contextual theology
  • pastoral education
  • Christian and Missionary Alliance Church
  • Burkina Faso
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to explore the spiritual development of Burkinabé Alliance pastors, who serve with the Burkina Alliance Church in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and to explore how this development relates to their religious practice as adult educators. The complimentary theoretical frameworks of sociocultural theory and contextual theology provide the lens through which this exploration is understood. These frameworks attempt to understand the context of an adult learner and its influence on the developmental process. This study utilized a sequential exploratory mixed method research design, which involved a mixture of qualitative and quantitative inquiry. Using the qualitative data collected in February 2009 and February 2010, a quantitative survey was developed. 303 pastors participated in the survey in September, 2010. The first set of findings asserts that Burkinabé pastors contextualize their worldview based on three aspects of the traditional African worldview: réligion traditionelle africaine (also referred to animism); the African oral narrative tradition; and the communal nature of reality. The second set of findings indicates that Burkinabé Alliance pastors develop spiritually through five domains of theological contextualization: a spiritual maturity characterized by growth, the primacy of a personal relationship with Christ, supernatural encounters with what are perceived to be demonic spirits, a negotiation of economic poverty, and a variety of spiritual experiences including dreams, visions, synchronicities, and the practice of the spiritual disciplines. The third set of findings indicates that Burkinabé Alliance pastors wonder if they will develop spiritually through continuing education. Each set of findings reveals varying quantitative differences between the Julaphone and Francophone Burkinabé Alliance pastors, which appear to be due to cultural and educational differences. The study ends by considering the implications for theory, practice, and future research.