Women, Mission and Leadership: Recent Academic Studies on Efforts to Create Gender Inclusion and Equity in Faith Communities
When: June 7, 2023, 1:00 pm - Wednesday
This session focuses on recent academic studies of efforts toward gender inclusion and equity with primary attention in churches in the Stone Campbell Movement. Cheryl Russell recently completed a D. Min. project at Lipscomb University titled “The Impact of Female Pastoral Leadership on the Members of New Heritage Fellowship.” Steve Gardner’s recently completed D. Min. project at Lipscomb University provides case studies of churches. Together, they will make observations from their projects that explore the impact of efforts to create gender inclusion and equity in our faith communities. Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby and Tiffany Dahlman will lead engagement from the perspectives of church and academy.
Steve Gardner, Attorney, “Authentic Theology”, Aukenjam LLC., “Churches of Christ Ending Prohibitions Against Females Speaking and Leading: Case Studies & Observations on Steps for Success”
This D. Min. project observes that a major impediment to Churches of Christ leaders lifting restrictions on girls and women in their congregations is a fear that a substantial portion of their congregation’s current members will depart in response. Based on interviews of sixty-three (63) elders, ministers, members, and consultants in the Churches of Christ, the project describes how leaders might lift such restrictions while retaining the vast majority (90%+) of members. It provides organized processes and suggestions based on such interviews. Case descriptions of forty-five (45) Churches of Christ throughout the United States are also provided.
Cheryl Russell, New Heritage Fellowship, Fairview, Texas, “The Spiritual Impact of Female Pastoral Leadership on the Members of New Heritage Fellowship”
Many females in the U.S, are waiting for opportunities to serve in pastoral leadership, hoping to help carry the story of God forward in a moment of great vulnerability for the church, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, very few churches are opening their doors to females for key leadership roles. This project explores the spiritual impact of egalitarian culture and female pastoral leadership on the members of New Heritage Fellowship. This project will (1) give insights into the potential impact and possibilities of female pastoral leadership and (2) illuminate an egalitarian model of ecclesial flourishing.
John York, Lipscomb University, Convener
- Steve Gardner, Attorney, Authentic Theology, Aukenjam LLC, “Churches of Christ Ending Prohibitions Against Females Speaking and Leading: Case Studies & Observations on Steps for Success”
- Amy Boone, Highland Church of Christ, Abilene, TX, Ecclesial Response
- Tiffany Dahlman, Abilene Christian University in Dallas and Courtyard Church of Christ, Fayetteville, NC, Academic Response
- Cheryl Russell, New Heritage Fellowship, Fairview, Texas, “The Spiritual Impact of Female Pastoral Leadership on the Members of New Heritage Fellowship”
- Candace Nicolds, Brookline Church of Christ, Ecclesial Response
- Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby, Abilene Christian University, Assistant Professor, Bible, Missions, and Ministry, Academic Response