Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Carole Spencer, PhD

Second Advisor

Rebecca Jeong, PhD


The church has seen a growing number of women emerging as pastoral leaders, many of whom are mothering children or will mother children in the coming years. In order to thrive as ministers and parents, these women need ongoing care for their souls that addresses the many facets of their being. However, such resources are scarce in the current institutional structures and spiritual patterns suggested for this demographic of clergy. In this dissertation I argue that Pastoring mothers face unique challenges in their desire to draw closer to heart of God in the midst of meeting family and ministry needs. These unique challenges can be met by a unique and creative God who chose to reveal herself as a mother often in scripture. By embracing an understanding of God that emphasizes God’s motherhood, these mothering pastors can more readily experience deep and sustaining spiritual nourishment wherein they feel included, seen, and energized for their dual calling.

Chapter One will tease out the spiritual needs that many mothering pastors have as they try to balance ministry and home life, including themes of shame and loneliness. Chapter Two names the enormous lack of spiritual care resources specific to the mothering pastor and acknowledges that it is often these very women who fill the gaps with their own abilities as spiritual leaders. Chapter Three suggests that a mothering God image can meet these spiritual needs in a unique way and establishes the biblical foundation for this image, while Chapter Four completes the mothering God picture with historical and theological precedent. Chapter Five is an exegesis of Isaiah 66:10-14 that further confirms the holistic benefits of a mothering God spirituality. Finally, Chapter Six uses spiritual formation as a pathway for understanding the practical implications for mothering pastors of resting in God’s mothering love.

Included in

Christianity Commons