Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)




The modern western church is experiencing a crisis of hermeneutic. The pervasive hermeneutic or interpretive lens employed by modern Christ-followers has engendered a largely static view of church structure and leadership. Simply put, the Western church fails to see relationally. This problem of "visual impairment" will be addressed by crafting a relational hermeneutic composed of three distinct and overlapping lenses: a theological/biblical (God) lens, a sociological/ontological (humanity) lens and a scientific/network (the cosmos) lens. Lens 1: God is social. For orthodox Christ-followers a relational hermeneutic begins with a God who is social; a Tri-unity of Divine persons, each lovingly serving the others in an interanimating, interpenetrating perichoretic dance. This relational God empties self in the loving act of creation through which human beings are created bearing God's relational image. The image of God in humanity may best be seen in the purposed oneness of diverse peoples and communities. The self-revelation of God to humanity through creation, the sacred text of the Christian Scriptures, Christ's incarnation and the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit all reflect the relational mission of God which is to reconcile all unto Godself. Lens 2: As image bearers of Divine interconnectivity the sociological lens of our relational hermeneutic is an extension of God's life given to creation. The beauty and complexity of human interrelatedness and social construction reflects the being of God. By focusing on the us of the I-thou, we will see all interpersonal relations as I-us-thou; thus all interpersonal relations reflect the Tri-unity of God. The us of I-thou is a living, dynamic spirit, both inseparable and distinct from both I and thou. Lens 3: All that God created is interconnected. Human beings are part of God's created order; to be part of connotes relationship. We will explore this relationship through recent discoveries within the network sciences to aid us in seeing how all that is, is interconnected. We will present scale-free networks as a key for seeing life, structures and institutions relationally. After a brief explanation of network theory, scale-free network theory will be employed to bring the relationship between the Kingdom of God and Christ's church into focus; thus presenting a relational ecclesial structure. Together, these three lenses compose a relational hermeneutic. As a "vision test" we will apply this relational hermeneutic to leadership within a connective structure; examining the 'being' and 'act' of hub bing-leadership. Characterized by keno tic service which is called forth by the faith-community, the hubbing-leader seeks to connect others to whatever is required, (God, one another, creation, etc.) in such a way that the oneness of God is manifest in human experience. This relational hermeneutic begins in the Tri-unity of God, is extended to image humanity through the imago Dei and lived into by joining in the missio Dei of reconciling all unto Godself.

Included in

Christianity Commons