The importance of formal theological education for marketplace leaders
Dr Mammie Sehoole is a Specialist Anaesthetist currently working at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital (DGMAH). She resides with her family in Pretoria North. Years ago, together with her husband, they felt called to plant a new church in their area. His Sanctuary Ministries is a growing church based in Pretoria North. Her husband is a Professor and Dean of Education at the University of Pretoria. Their church is now over ten years old and still growing. With the growth in their church, they have identified a need to empower themselves with formal and accredited theological education. In this article we are profiling her as an example of a marketplace leader who is involved in ministry and has identified a need to empower herself with formal theological education.
Background about faith life, marketplace role and call to ministry
The seed of faith as someone working in the marketplace was planted in me from a very young age. My father was a teacher and also a minister of the word. I got born again in 1997 when I was working at Helen Joseph hospital. I then got transferred to Natalspruit Hospital where I grew and matured in faith. Three years later I moved to Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital to specialize as an Anaesthetist. This I completed in 2004. I have been working in the operating theatre and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) since then. My experience of working in those two environments taught me that there is a time when medical knowledge can no longer help in some of the cases and that is when you need the Lord to take over. In my training of registrars in ICU, I always inquire from them if they can pray, “because there will come a time when they will need it.” I got involved in ministry to support my husband who has been called to ministry. It is wonderful to be working together as a team.
What brought the need for you and your spouse appreciate the need for theological education?
In the times we live in, we need to teach people sound doctrine especially in the context where we have a prevalence of fake pastors, fake prophecies, and fake miracles. Christ commanded His disciples to teach believers all the things He had taught them (Matthew 28: 19-20). This will be possible when we have equipped ourselves through theological training. Paul also advices the same in a letter to Timothy: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Tim2:15 KJV). It is for this reason that I decided to undertake formal studies with the University of Pretoria and have now completed a post graduate diploma in theology. I am continuing to further my studies in theology with the same university.
Who advised you to follow the route that you have taken?
I saw the need to study further in theology as the ministry was growing and I needed to grow with it by equipping myself to be of better service working alongside my husband who is the senior pastor in our church.
How have you experienced theological education?
Coming from a medical background I had thought that it was going to be smooth sailing but was shocked to realize that things were not as easy as I thought they would be. I am now focusing on studying the Old Testament with a specific interest on Psalms. It has helped me to understand scriptures better and in context. I have learnt a lot about different Psalms, the context and circumstances under which they were written, and how they can be used in different settings. It was enlightening to learn how people in biblical times used psalms as a form of support in situations like depression.
What are the benefits of taking further theological education for your ministry?
As the ministry grows and people with different persuasions and educational backgrounds join the church, it empowers to us deal with diverse interests and backgrounds. My husband and I are professionals in our own right, however, that is not enough to deal with ministry work. Like any other profession where staff and professional development is required, ministry work also requires staff and professional development.
Would you advise other pastors who come from the marketplace to consider further theological education?
Yes indeed, the same way as a diploma and a masters in business administration will benefit someone who is in business, so is there a need for marketplace pastors to consider theological training. It will enrich their work in ministry. People get to respect you and have confidence in your ministry when they see that you know what you are talking about. As another man of God said, “leaders should be readers. You cannot lead unless you read”.