Original Research

Pastoral ministry and persons with disabilities: The case of the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe

Nomatter Sande
African Journal of Disability | Vol 8 | a431 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v8i0.431 | © 2019 Nomatter Sande | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 September 2017 | Published: 20 February 2019

About the author(s)

Nomatter Sande, Department of Religion and Social Transformation, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; and, Apostolic Faith Mission International Ministries, Leicester, United Kingdom


Background: The Persons with Disability (PWD) are the minority group dehumanized in the church. The subject of disability is complicated because of the impact of the Judeo-Christian teachings. The Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) in Zimbabwe is a leading Pentecostal church with a pastoral ministry theology which emphasises divine healing, miracles, signs and wonders. Thus, the space of PWD and how the PWD either connects or benefits from this Pentecostal heritage is a critical gap in this study.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to explore the construction of disability through the practices and processes of the pastoral ministry in the AFM.

Method: This study followed qualitative research and used the social model of disability as theoretical framework. The data were collected from 26 participants who are PWD and pastors using in-depth interviews, focus groups and participant observations.

Results: The results showed the AFM pastoral practices created invisible barriers that militate against PWD. Thus, the pastoral ‘divine solutions’ and ‘triumphalist messages and teachings’ are ‘prescriptive’ and ineffective in reducing ‘the plight of PWD in Zimbabwe’.

Conclusion: The study concludes that the pastoral ministry should be ‘one efficient vehicle’ with which the church can care for and ‘transform persons with disabilities’. Pastors should break the glass ceiling by expecting pastors to minister better and more effectively creating a safe space for persons with disabilities. A caring community should be the nature of both the AFM and the pastoral ministry responsible for meeting the needs of the persons with disabilities.


Disability; Pentecostalism; Apostolic Faith Mission; spirituality; pastoral ministry


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