Church leadership and the crisis of theological identity

Full Title
Church leadership and the crisis of theological identity
Michael Drew Shelley
The crisis of leadership supposedly ravaging the Church in the 21st century obscures a deeper crisis of theological identity in which churches, pastors, and lay leaders have forgotten who they are, the home to which they belong, and the mission to which God calls them. The presenting symptoms of this crisis of identity are pastors and churches stuck in places of ineffectiveness, hopelessness, unhealthy expectations of each other, and general malaise. The project for renewed pastoral and lay leadership at Crossville FUMC has focused on the means of grace by which the Triune God creates the being of the church and from which emerge the corresponding practices of leadership which prepare the congregation for its ministry in the community. Pastors and people reclaim their identity by engaging the crisis of identity through theological questions of identity, “Who is God who creates the Church?” And, “who are we as the Church before God?” In so doing, churches clarify their identity as disciples of Jesus claimed by God in our baptism, members of God’s household with a place at God’s Table, and a community of disciples forever called into God’s mission. . . .

[Note: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited. The abstract was shortened in length to adhere to the submission requirements.]
Degree Granting Institution
United States
Degree Granted
Doctor of Ministry
Type of Work
D.Min. Project
Doug Meeks
Number of Pages
Copyright Statement
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