Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Most Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations are heterogeneous when viewed from some demographic angles. Age, economic status, theological viewpoint, ethnicity, language, family structure, and culture all provide angles through which to contemplate demographic heterogeneity. Part of the variety within my denomination occurs naturally. Other is due to changes in our society. Regardless of origin, increasing diversity is likely to continue. While some argue that uniformity in one or two overarching categories means that a congregation is not diverse, I affim1 that acknowledging diversity points, and exploiting those differences at times, is critical to health and vitality in a congregation. This dissertation looks at the intention of the Divine to establish, and the contemporary complexity of life together in, heterogeneous Christian communities. In particular, I explore leadership in heterogeneous Christian communities. Reviewing the Biblical basis for and Reformed view of mixed congregations sets the stage for theological reflection on kenosis, reconciliation, and hospitality as avenues for faithfulness. I especially emphasize leadership in congregations in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I propose meaningful and effective ways to lead gracefully so that skilled leadership teams and individuals may, first, guide the congregations in their care to appreciate the wisdom and power of their particular points of diversity, and, second, live together gracefully into the call to peace and love that Christ has placed upon them.
Claassen, Karen Louise Palmbaum, "Elegant Leadership in Heterogeneous Ministry Settings" (2010). Doctor of Ministry. 622.