Date of Award

2-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Department

Seminary

First Advisor

Diane Zemke, PhD

Second Advisor

Rebecca Laird, DMin

Third Advisor

Linda Adams, DMin

Abstract

The majority of Wesleyan denominations began with theological belief rooted in social action, particularly as it pertained to abolition and women’s equality. Though their beginnings were radical, today the same groups are primarily homogeneous, representing a largely white congregational and leadership demographic, predominantly led by white males. With a historical theology of diversity and inclusion, this research seeks to understand why women and people of color are excluded from leadership roles in the Wesleyan Tradition and how it may affect the future of these denominations. Methodologically, this analysis utilizes research from Deloitte Insights as a template for gauging organizational effectiveness of integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion within Wesleyan denominations. The sections begin with a description of the ministry problem, particularly on the origins of the Wesleyan Tradition’s theology with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion of women and people of color. Second, the biblical rationale for God’s partnership with humanity, and humanity with one another, inclusive of women and the nations, is viewed through a Wesleyan lens. Third is the existence of the gap, throughout the existence of the Wesleyan movement, between theology and practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Barriers include a loss of memory, cultural accommodation, internal culture, and lost vision for the future. These barriers explore the reasons why Wesleyan churches are not practicing their theological heritage in section four. The fifth assessment is a sample of current pockets of hope from compliance, programs, leadership, and full integrative practice of Wesleyan churches. The research concludes with an overview, a list of central challenges to practice, and pathways toward leadership and integrative practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I intend to use my findings to support Wesleyan denominations in heightening their awareness and practice of holistic integration of women and people of color as prophetic shepherding communities.

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Christianity Commons

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