Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Interdenominational Theology Center (ITC)

Degree Name

D.Min.

Abstract

Women in leadership have had a difficult time rising into positions of leadership in the church. Qualified women in the local church are not realizing their dreams and or achieving their goals because of barriers which include sexism in the church and society, cultural differences and the inner struggles through various expected roles within their family structure. Women in the local church need proper nurturing, guidance and or support in the articulation or the manifestation of their ministerial visions and goals.

There is very little data available regarding women in leadership. Research suggests that even though women make up the majority of membership in the church, women are disproportionately represented in the leadership of the church. Research further suggests that even though Americans are comfortable with women as leaders, relatively small numbers of women make it to top leadership positions relative to their male counterparts.

The conceptual framework integrated ideas from theological, biblical and theoretical perspectives. The theological perspective focused on several theologians within the categories of the theology of liberation, feminist theology, Black feminist theology and womanist theology. The biblical perspective was explored through the arguments about women in leadership from the egalitarian and complementarian viewpoints. The biblical perspective further discussed women in leadership within the arguments about women in leadership from the egalitarian and complementarian viewpoints. The biblical perspective further discussed women in leadership within the biblical context. Finally, the theoretical perspective investigated the theory of subordination as it relates to women in leadership. The theory of subordination was explored in three sections: (a) the biblical theory of subordination, (b) the cultural theory of subordination and (c) the pastoral domination theory of subordination.

The purpose of this project is to encourage and inspire women who have the potential to be leaders by assisting them to develop leadership skills, enabling them to step forward as true leaders in the church using a "Wo-Mentoring" approach.

The research project was conducted at Saint John C.M.E. Church in Monticello, Georgia. Women in this congregation were involved in a program that will help them envision their goals, identify the barriers that preclude them from reaching their goals, and help them utilize the voices of other women to give encouragement as future leaders. This program enabled these women to develop skills to process their issues, understand themselves, and visualize goals assisting them in creating a workable road map toward these goals. The intended results are changes from within - transformation. The women should be different in their approach to leadership in various ministries.

In the project, the women participated in leadership sessions including bible study, developing vision, mission and goal statements, and communication skills. As a result, the women who participated in the sessions were inspired to equip themselves using the resources provided.

The researcher evaluated the effectiveness of the project by utilizing a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. This project utilized Stacy Floyd-Thomas' qualitative method of 'historiography' to understand the other women's voices used to undergird the project. The quantitative method explored statistical data conducted in pre/post surveys as it relates to the program participants. Additionally, the researcher used qualitative methods to dialogue with the women participants.

The results of the project suggest that the women who participated in the project had a better understanding of leadership; and felt that they would use their skills in the near future. It was concluded that many of the participants experienced transformation.

We will be better equipped for future leadership opportunities when we understand the many obstacles women face such as sexism in the church, cultural differences and inner struggles through various expected roles.

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