Few Church of Christ women have had experience with taking an active leadership role in a worship service since these congregations have traditionally believed women leading worship is unscriptural. Recently more Churches of Christ have begun to change their understanding of scripture in ways that are more inclusive of women. In March 2019, after a six-month church wide bible study at the historic Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, TX, women took on public roles in a worship service in what was for most of them the first time to serve in front of a congregation.

To document their experiences, the researchers conducted interviews with thirty-two women who participated in a leading worship role during the first year of this change. Participants described their evolving beliefs about women’s roles in worship; their experience as they participated in worship; meanings they assigned to their participation; and how their changing roles affected their experience of worship and community at Broadway.

Author Bio

Shannon Rains (DMin, Abilene Christian University) is the Associate Professor of Children’s Ministry at Lubbock Christian University. Before her appointment, she served in children and family ministry for fifteen years. Her research topics include children's spiritual formation, worship with children, and women's leadership in churches. In addition to academic presentations, she also speaks at churches on a variety of topics. Dr. Rains lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband David and their children River (2003) and Reese (2009).

Jennifer Dabbs received her B.A. in sociology from Centenary College of Louisiana in 1986. She received her M.A. in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1988 and her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Texas in 1994. For the past twenty years she has taught sociology courses in the Department of Social Work and Criminal Justice at Lubbock Christian University.

Kaley Ihfe received her B.S. in Human Communication in 1998 from Abilene Christian University. She received her M.Ed in School Counseling in 2002 and her M.A. in Christian Ministry in 2019 both from Abilene Christian University. For over thirty years, she volunteered in various ways in children's and youth ministry in Churches of Christ. She has served as a speaker at women's retreats and Bible studies as well as a teacher of college and adult Bible classes at University Avenue Church of Christ and Broadway Church of Christ. She has authored several curriculums for Bible classes and is currently writing one on Wisdom Literature, and she is the Director of Retreats for Lavish Hope.

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