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The goal of this final project was to explore the role of narrative, metaphor and parable in order to lead River Life Covenant Church in East Sacramento, California. Through the examination of Scripture, it becomes acutely clear that Jesus chose to lead His disciples through the retelling of their history, illustrative word pictures, and stories with intent. By reaching back into their collective history, Jesus reinterprets it through metaphor and parable in order to build His church and return it to its original trajectory of being a “light to the nations.”

Western pastoral leadership has typically been impacted by modernity and tends to utilize strategic thinking, goal setting, program implementation, and has used these tools to evaluate whether a church is “successful” or not. Finding the right model of church to follow dominates the thinking of leadership. Intellectual reasoning and scientific method have governed pastoral leadership primarily because it is measurable, easily communicated, and rational.

Interpretative leadership is much more complex. Attempting to discern what God is doing, rather than what the church would like to see happen, requires a different skill set. This final project is an attempt to lead a small, community church through the tools of narration, metaphor, and parable. Confident that the Lord is still present and at work building His church, through the Holy Spirit, this project hopes to listen to the story that is being written through this church so that she will be able to be responsive to Jesus’ specific purpose for her in being a “light that shines in the darkness.”

Content Reader: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Fredrickson, Kurt

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River Life Covenant Church (East Sacramento, Calif.); Christian leadership; Evangelical Covenant Church; Leadership; Postmodernism


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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