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The purpose of this study was to explore how female Church of Christ students at a Christian university perceive their need for personal spiritual development. Church of Christ congregations have historically ranged from a paternalistic to a complementarian position toward female participation in the church. In a male-dominant structure, women may question whether or not they need to develop spiritually.

Although the perceived need for spiritual development is affected in the classroom, multiple experiences influence student spiritual growth. Three areas of college life were investigated to see how they influence female students’ perception of their own need for spiritual development: pre-college experiences, classroom experiences, and co-curricular religious activities. The research questions focused on these three areas in an effort to identify what was most effective in achieving spiritual growth among female students from a Church of Christ background. A survey was conducted among (n=610) sophomore female and male students from a Church of Christ background.

Results showed the importance of having spiritual examples, mentors, and people to provide encouragement to grow spiritually. It also explored the effectiveness of classroom discussions, co-curricular activities, church, and chapel. Pedagogical suggestions have been included that pertain to female students. This study presented implications for curriculum development, teaching, mentoring, internships, co-curricular activities, youth group activities, leadership opportunities, and it showed the importance of both family and non-familial females on female spiritual development.

Content Reader: Richard Peace, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

First Advisor

Peace, Richard

Date Uploaded

April 2018

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Harding University; Churches of Christ; Spiritual formation; Discipling (Christianity); Christian women; Protestant women


Missions and World Christianity


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