Module Descriptions

Bachelor of Theology Community Leader in Sociology and Community Development (NQF 7)

For a description of each module, see Module Descriptions below

Core Curriculum

The Bachelor of Theology in Community Leadership is designed for a minimum duration of 3 years, involving a total of 384 credits. The programme is delivered through a combination of in-person contact sessions and distance learning.

Study Year 1 of 3 (NQF 5)

This module develops the skills needed for successful tertiary study, particularly listening and reading for comprehension, critical thinking in sourcing and evaluating academic material, structuring academic papers, writing clearly and logically, and referencing sources used. Students develop these essential skills through readings and talks and practise them in a supportive environment with detailed feedback. 

Through this module, students will learn to use a computer for emails, internet, word processing, spreadsheet development and electronic presentation suites. This will enable students to access the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) known as Funda, which is used by Cornerstone for communication with lecturers and administrative purposes, as well as research and submission of assignments.

The module introduces students to the principles, concepts, history, and major approaches to the study of society. It provides an overview of what sociologists' study, the methods they use, the different ways of thinking (paradigms) within sociology as well as the key terminology (concepts) that serve as analytical tools to understand social systems and the social construction of human life.

The first half of this module is designed to introduce the student to the nature, purpose and interpretative process related to the Scriptures. Attention is given to the historical backdrop of the Old and New Testaments, and to the development of the biblical canon (Jewish, Protestant and Catholic). Tracing the narrative trajectory of the Bible, this module is designed to equip students with a basic skill set necessary for the artful and faithful interpretation of the biblical text both within the church and public space.
In the second half of this module, students are introduced to the scope of the New Testament, as the testimony of the early Church, concerning the crucified and resurrected Jesus. The module follows the canonical order of the New Testament. Attention is given to historical background, interpretive issues related to literary genre, and to the theology and narrative integrity of the New Testament.

This module is designed to introduce students to the concept of integration and its implications both for Christian faith and praxis, and for the relationship between the disciplines of theology, psychology, and community development. The module frames these disciplines within their respective branches of knowledge, inviting students to consider how each discipline operates within a particular worldview. Students explore the necessity of moving from a compartmentalised understanding of their faith and vocation to thinking and living in ways that reflect integration between their faith life and their work life.

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to a foundation for conflict management that will guide community leaders in responding to interpersonal conflict. Students are introduced to the theory and practice of conflict mediation, equipping them with specific communication skills to enhance their relationships (interpersonal and intrapersonal). Students explore personal attitudes and approaches to conflict. This module makes use of case studies to assist students to reflect on the strategies, tactics and approaches used during conflict situations and emphasises the link between foundational beliefs, communication, behaviour and conflict.

Developmental Psychology: This module provides students with an overview of the major theories of Developmental Psychology. Furthermore, the module aims to help the student understand the course of human development from conception to late adulthood. The module also seeks to address contemporary concerns in lifespan development from conception to late adulthood.

OR

Counselling and Life Skills: This module provides students with training in how to develop and design life skills programmes, psycho-educational training and individual counselling interventions. This module provides an understanding of persons, ideas and principles in the sphere of human behaviour and examines how to manage structured psycho-educational activities in personal and group interventions and how to evaluate their success.

This module is designed to help the student build an ethical framework that considers a holistic understanding of the human person (head, heart and hands). Students are exposed to ethical theories that enable them to reflect on ways in which to respond to current moral, intellectual and social questions. Students work to integrate ethical theory into their experience of life and explore how this contributes to the good of the world.

This module explores the ways identity shapes and is shaped by diversity in terms of race, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability, and how the social construction of difference can have a significant impact on people’s life opportunities. A fundamental objective of the module will be to develop critical diversity literacy and identify ways to promote mutual understanding, tolerance and cooperation among communities.

Theology: An Introduction - This module is designed to introduce the student to the methodology and discourse of both systematic and practical theology and provide a framework within which to make sense of these disciplines, how they overlap and intersect, what specific angles of vision they offer the church in its engagement, theologically and practically, with the world. Special attention is given to the relationship between theology and its cultural contexts, particularly within a South African context.

OR

Old Testament: An Introduction: In this module focus is given to tracing the scope of the Old Testament, as a shared testimony, concerning its central character, Yahweh. The module follows the ordering of the Hebrew Bible. The first part of the module gives particular attention to the Torah and Early Prophets. The second half of the module traces out the meaning and theological significance of the remaining books of the Old Testament, giving particular attention to Israel’s counter-testimony as recounted in the Latter Prophets and Writings. Attention is given throughout to historical background, interpretive issues related to literary genre, and to the theological frame and narrative integrity of the Old Testament.

Psychology: An Introduction: This module aims to provide the student with an understanding of persons, ideas, and principles in the sphere of human behaviour, which we understand as the social sciences. The historical development and current status of psychology, investigative activities, and significant findings are reviewed. Psychology: An Introduction will also engage with psychological thought in relation to the South African context.

OR

Crisis Counselling: The student will do fieldwork in an area of Christian Ministry as an extension of the academic programme. Fieldwork is a multidisciplinary application of what has been learned theoretically. It measures the practical capabilities of the student within a field or sphere of learning.

Study Year 2 of 3 (NQF 6)

Sociology of Development aims to introduce the debate on the development question in Africa. It lays the conceptual foundation for further in-depth discussions on two fields of development research and practice: industrial development, and community development in Africa. The module will, therefore, introduce both macro theories pertaining to development, and the basics of what we understand by industrial development, and community development. The underlying meaning of popular development concepts and strategies will be critically revisited and debated to set the scene for further modules in development. The module explores poverty and exclusion as a developmental concern for Africa, and South Africa in particular.

This module reviews several perspectives on community development and social transformation processes. The overall objective is to acquire an understanding of social transformation as it relates to community development and the ability to apply this understanding in working with diverse communities.

This module comprises two parts.
Part 1: Applied Hermeneutics: Reading from the Margins. Here students are introduced to the importance and value of reading the Bible with others (i.e., the marginalised, whether women, children, the poor, the illiterate). The module enables the student both to recognise the value of being a trained reader and the responsibility to use such training in transformative, public, connected, dialogic and integrated ways. The module combines both theoretical and practical outcomes. The theoretical outcome of the module is achieved by defining who the others are and by laying the conceptual framework for what it means to read with others and how practically to do so. The practical outcome is achieved by assigning students to an actual reading site in which they will participate by applying the theoretical framework.
Part 2: Theoretical Hermeneutics. In this part, the branch of knowledge known as hermeneutics is explored in greater detail. Concerned with the art and science of establishing meaning through interpretation, this part provides the necessary orientation for making sense of Scripture. This includes cultivating, in the student, an awareness of the otherness of Scripture, both in its form and in its content; surveying the richness of the many ways in which one might approach the Scriptures and thereby appropriate its meaning; and, offering some guidelines for sensitive engagement with the Scriptures towards establishing meaning. A significant amount of time is dedicated to examining biblical texts within their socio-rhetorical setting.

This module is designed to explore how people make meaning out of life's experiences. Consideration is also given to the application of this theory to the general areas of developmental psychology, the theology of Christian formation and maturity. Additionally, students explore meaningful ways in which to bring together the theory and practice of Christian spiritual formation. This module also includes a compulsory tutorial for spiritual formation.

The module introduces students to resources and community mobilisation, which are key elements within most development projects and programmes. Students will explore real cases of community and resource mobilisation, highlighting the value of community participation as key components of the development process.

Sociological theory is applied to important institutions in society such as the family, media institutions, religion, education and political institutions

Building on our understanding of God’s story and its trajectory in human history, this module looks at the question of human identity. It works from the premise that the meaning of life, of what it means to be human, to be created, comes into sharper focus when viewed biblically and theologically. Moving from the various biblical, theological and historical responses to the question of human identity, the module looks to the doctrine of Christ for its ultimate answer, unpacking the story of God’s restoration in and through Jesus Christ. Implications of this doctrine are considered in the light of South African contextual realities.

Pentateuch: This module is a focused study of the Torah (or Pentateuch) with particular attention given to the nature and character of these writings as Israel’s core testimony concerning Yahweh. Some attention is given to the theological motifs (Law and Justice, Political Deliverance, and Economics and the Poor) embedded within the Torah and to the role of these motifs in community identity formation.

OR

Synoptic Gospels: This module is a focused study of one of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke – Acts) within its historical and literary context and places a significant emphasis on the descriptive task (exegesis of representative passages within the specified Gospel) to note distinctive theological themes. Special attention is also given to the synthetic task of locating the Gospel within the broader canon of the New Testament Gospels.

Study Year 3 of 3 (NQF 7)

This module is designed to equip students with skills in community-based research (i.e., tools, techniques and methodologies). The module aims to assist students in helping a community identify an issue or problem, collect and analyse information, act upon the problem to find solutions that promote economic, social and political development or transformation. A key focus of the module will be to train students on how to write a research proposal while being exposed to qualitative and quantitative techniques for data collection and analysis for social research. The module will review methodologies and approaches appropriate to community based participatory research and will provide students with opportunities for practical application of acquired knowledge and skills.

This module looks at community development from a sociological point of view with an emphasis on both the theoretical and practical facets of the developmental process. These themes will be related to current development challenges in South Africa and will be studied against the background of global trends as well as specific community issues. Whilst strong emphasis will be placed on a holistic and people-centred orientation to development theory and praxis, the economic prerequisites and requirements for development will also be stressed. Theoretical insights will be translated into skills required for hands-on community development.

Old Testament Prophets: This module comprises two parts.
Part 1: Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings provide the basis for a survey of Israel's history from conquest to exile. Special emphasis is given to the investigation of the relationship between Israel's historical traditions and its theological appropriation of these traditions around such themes as election, law, land and leadership.
Part 2: The literary structure and theological significance of the latter prophets are examined with attention being given to seeing the prophets within their own historical context and in light of the New Testament. Exegesis of representative passages is included.

OR

Old Testament Writing: The study and meaning of wisdom in the literature of the Old Testament are investigated. Special attention is given to the nature of Hebrew poetry, literary structure and the importance of developing a biblical theology of the wisdom writings. Exegesis of representative passages is included.

Pauline Writings: This is a focused module designed to provide students with points of orientation for understanding Paul and the letters attributed to him. The module enables students to navigate the Pauline Writings by setting both Paul (as author, pastor and missionary) and his letters within their historical, socio-cultural, theological, exegetical and ecclesiological setting. Within this matrix, students read and engage texts within the body of the Pauline Writings. 

OR

Johannine Writings: This module is a focused study of the writings attributed to John – the Gospel of John, the Letters of John, and the Apocalypse of John. Students will examine these writings by attending to the testimony they render concerning the crucified and resurrected Christ. Attention is given to the issues of authorship, literary and rhetorical structure, theological motifs, with a view to understanding their vision and purpose both within their ancient and the contemporary church settings.

Organisational Development explores the theory and practice of management in the context of business and community-based organisations. The management component of the module will examine practical issues such as managing change, strategic planning and human resource management issues.

The senior project paper is a literature report and reflection paper based on the advanced level student’s practical fieldwork experience in a community setting. Students are encouraged to write an empirical research paper using community based participatory research methodologies. Students may alternatively choose to write a theoretical paper. The senior project paper will need to demonstrate the student’s mastery of compiling a literature review informed by her/his empirical research, coherently describe the research problem and successfully apply appropriate sociological theories.

This module is designed to explore how people make meaning out of life's experiences. Consideration is also given to the application of this theory to the general areas of developmental psychology, the theology of Christian formation and maturity. Additionally, students explore meaningful ways in which to bring together the theory and practice of Christian spiritual formation. This module also includes a compulsory tutorial for spiritual formation.

OR

Synoptic Gospels: This module is a focused study of one of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke – Acts) within its historical and literary context and places a significant emphasis on the descriptive task (exegesis of representative passages within the specified Gospel) to note distinctive theological themes. Special attention is also given to the synthetic task of locating the Gospel within the broader canon of the New Testament Gospels.

This module looks at the necessity and importance of an integrative approach to responding to a range of critical issues of relevance for both the church and public space. Within a worldview framework, students wrestle with contemporary issues – including personhood, community belonging, power, economics and education and the intersection of these issues – from a biblical and theological perspective. 

Cornerstone Institute
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