TITLE: Churches of Christ Ending Prohibitions Against Females Speaking and Leading: Case Studies & Observations on Steps for Success

ABSTRACT: A major impediment to leaders of Churches of Christ considering and implementing the lifting of restrictions on girls and women in their congregations (e.g., restrictions barring girls and women from leading prayer, reading scripture, and preaching in the assembly and from serving as an elder) is a fear that a substantial portion of the congregation’s current members will depart the congregation in response. Based on interviews of sixtythree (63) elders, ministers, members, and consultants in the Churches of Christ with experience in such efforts, this research study describes how Church of Christ leaders might consider and implement the lifting of such restrictions while retaining the vast majority of their current members. It also provides organized processes, observations, and suggestions based on such interviews for Church of Christ leaders to consider employing in their particular context. Case descriptions of relevant experience of forty-five (45) Churches of Christ throughout the United States are provided. This research study also discusses relevant resources, focusing on those of particular interest to the Churches of Christ. Processes, observations, suggestions, and case descriptions in this study focus on lifting restrictions on girls and women in the Churches of Christ but may be helpful for consideration of other questions and in other Christian traditions.

AUTHOR: Steve Gardner

A project submitted to the faculty of The Hazelip School of Theology at Lipscomb University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Ministry by Steve Gardner, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, February 2023

Faculty advisor and Chair, Project Committee: Dr. John Mark Hicks of Lipscomb University

Link to written work: https://authentictheology.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Lipscomb_U_DMin_Project_Final.pdf

Questions and comments are invited, in the comments or at https://authentictheology.com/contact/