Date of Award
Kelli Bryant Gibson
This project addresses the lack of a formal curriculum for spiritual leadership formation in the West University Church of Christ in Houston, Texas. While the West University Church of Christ has been blessed by strong congregational leaders in both the past and present, recent conversations revealed the need for a deeper connection to God and a better understanding of spiritual leadership on the part of the congregation’s leaders. The problem I identified was a lack of understanding about spiritual leadership in contrast to secular understandings of leadership and the lack of a formal curriculum to help address this problem.
This project assembled a small, diverse group of congregational members to create a spiritual leadership curriculum that helps develop a Christian phronesis among the current leaders of the congregation. This group met for a weekend retreat to examine the background of Philippians, spiritual leadership, and a theology of phronesis. Afterwards, the group assembled for eight sessions to develop a spiritual leadership curriculum. Using the Christ Hymn of Philippians 2:5-11 as its foundation, this curriculum defines spiritual leadership as fulfilling Paul's calling to develop the phronesis of Christ through study, reflection, and intentional spiritual practices and then helping others do the same in their own lives. Each week was organized around a theme from Philippians and the Christ Hymn. During the week the team implemented spiritual practices in their own lives. When they assembled together, the team reflected on those experiences together, brainstormed questions to address the weekly theme, and developed a spiritual leadership lesson that utilized biblical study, reflection, and spiritual disciplines. I assessed the validity of this curriculum through the triangulation of researcher field notes, insider evaluation, and the evaluation of an outside expert. According to these three areas of evaluation, the curriculum is an effective way to develop spiritual leadership in a congregation.
This project thesis explores the theological foundations of the curriculum, the method of its construction, and its practical possibilities for future leadership development at the West University Church of Christ.
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McGraw, Daniel A., "Formulating an Intentional Curriculum for Spiritual Leadership Development at the West University Church of Christ" (2016). Doctor of Ministry Project/Theses. 24.
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