Together in Mission: A Model for Flourishing Male/Female Ministry Partnerships in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA
Doctor of Intercultural Studies
Glanville, Elizabeth L.
In this dissertation, I start by surveying the literature regarding male/female ministry partnerships, both in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA and in the broader egalitarian theological community. After a thorough review, I posit that the literature reveals a gap around intentionality; that is, while there are values in place for flourishing male/female ministry partnerships both in InterVarsity and in the egalitarian community, there is an absence of blueprints for how to make those values a reality.
In response, I entered into a triangulated research protocol that surfaced ten attributes for flourishing male/female ministry partnerships in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. Such partnerships will be personally satisfying and missionally effective when they are marked by a vision for freely shared power, a belief that embracing difference advances the mission, a commitment to communicate, a corporate sensitivity to gender dynamics, a value for holistic friendships, a shared egalitarian theological conviction, the practice of public affirmation and modeling, a personal awareness of gender brokenness, thoughtful interpersonal boundaries, and a consistent learner’s posture.
Operating with the belief that the training pathway will be the more effective way to help staff throughout the organization engage these characteristics, I put forward a training model that groups the attributes into three domains; namely, the inner life, community culture, and intentional practices. When these three domains intersect, male/female ministry partnerships in InterVarsity are more likely to become places of flourishing.
Finally, I articulate five concrete recommendations for how InterVarsity could fill its intentionality gap by moving forward with focused training in the area of flourishing male/female ministry partnerships. Specifically, I encourage the organization to strongly consider articulating the need for training in male/female ministry partnerships, training every staff in the model, establishing a variety of training forms, hiring gender diversity personnel, and forming a network of champions. Purposefully engaging these things should ensure that male/female ministry partnerships could flourish throughout the organization.
Mentor: Elizabeth L. Glanville, PhD
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