Creating Safe Space for the Other: A Study of Foursquare Pastors, Leadership, and Missiological Engagement with the LGBTQ Community

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Doctor of Intercultural Studies

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Glanville, Elizabeth L.


This study concerns itself with how selected Foursquare churches are missionally engaging people in their respective communities who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, or questioning. As debate about inclusion of the LGBTQ community into the Foursquare church continues, this research looks at how pastors of selected churches are practically leading their congregations through this difficult topic as well as how the congregations themselves have been impacted by this displayed leadership. Through a theoretical lens of Transformational Leadership, the findings of the data reveal how pastors are utilizing adaptive change theory to bring about space within their congregations for conversation that leads to missional engagement.

This research, comprised of three case studies done on selected Foursquare churches across the United States, reveals how leadership, church culture, scriptural understanding, and discipleship process are vital factors in helping a congregation process through how to reach those who belong to the LGBTQ community. The findings suggest that pastors continued to live in tension surrounding this issue. While each had pursued answers, they wrestled with how to include people who identified as gay within their congregations. Also, pastors related the importance of relationship development and focusing on identity issues during the discipleship processes. In addition, this research helps those, who may have family or friends who identify with the LGBTQ community, to process through the tension that is often associated with this issue.

Finally, a change process is proposed. Because adaptive change is paramount in the life of the leader, this change process focuses on a small group of pastors in the northeast who would like to begin to explore their own ideas and attitudes regarding missional engagement with the LGBTQ community.

Mentor: Elizabeth L. Glanville, PhD


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