Original Research

Called to the ministry: Narratives of career choice amongst female pastors in South Africa

Willie Chinyamurindi, Reuben Rashe
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 47 | a1810 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v47i0.1810 | © 2021 Willie Chinyamurindi, Reuben Rashe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 May 2020 | Published: 11 February 2021

About the author(s)

Willie Chinyamurindi, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa
Reuben Rashe, Department of Theology, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa


Orientation: There is a noted entrance of females into careers that have been a preserve traditionally of males. One such cohort needing understanding concerns females entering the pastoral ministry.

Research purpose: The study explores the career choice issues of female pastors into the pastoral ministry.

Motivation of the study: Calls have been made within the local and international literature for studies that give attention to understanding issues related to career development through the prism of calling, faith and religiosity.

Research approach, design and method: A narrative inquiry using a sample of 15 females who have studied for the pastoral ministry within a leading Christian protestant denomination was utilised.

Main findings: Three main narratives emerged. First, the entrance to the pastoral ministry as an answer to the voice of God and also made clear through signs from God. Second, an entrance to the pastoral ministry is a result of support from significant others. Finally, an entrance to the pastoral ministry is due to the need to challenge the status quo and give more female representation to a perceived gendered space, the church.

Practical/managerial implications: Career counsellors may need to be aware of the issues that surround females entering careers often classified not their own. Strategies can be proposed based on such an understanding within contemporary career counselling practice.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to the growing body of knowledge, focusing on the need to understand how issues of calling, faith and religiosity affect individual career choice and, subsequently, career development.


South Africa; female; pastors; career choice; ministry


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