Date of Award


Document Type

Project Portfolio

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Mark Chironna, DMin

Second Advisor

Melinda Smith, DMin

Third Advisor

Leonard I. Sweet, PhD


Christians and churches in the early twenty-first century seem to belong to various tribes which leads to confused, disjointed loyalties. This confusion can lead to acrimony within churches. To develop and maintain the unity spoken of by Jesus Christ, these groups would benefit by better understanding and recognizing the prevalence of tribalism. Further, this should lead to the instigation of processes by which they can effectively evaluate and re-align their tribal loyalties toward a more definitive and effective modeling of Jesus and his lordship. Church leadership will benefit from a better understanding of the forces of tribalism at work both in our world and in their churches. Beyond that, they will need specific, intentional processes that can be employed to assist their communities to define, articulate, and understand together their tribal loyalties. Among the specific insights gathered through this research, I have found that many church leaders are only somewhat aware of the actual manifestations of tribalism. Seemingly because of the homogeneity that is seen in many churches, the conversations around tribalism are either one sided or non-existent. This project has emerged from my vocational place as a pastor of a church dying from tribalism. The church eventually closed in late summer of 2022 largely due to the inability of the congregation to have healthy discussions around key tribal conflicts. Key inflection points included disagreement on the most effective and Godly response to the management of COVID-19. A second disagreement involved the question of how the church leadership should respond to the concept of taking a partisan position in the contentious 2020 election and subsequent aftermath. Growing from that context, this project has culminated in the formation of a website that will equip church leaders with both knowledge and tools to understand, teach about, and confront tribalism in healthy ways.

Included in

Christianity Commons