Rev. Elaine Beth Peresluha, Ph.D.


IN THE MIDDLE: A Comparison of the Limitations and Opportunities of an Individualist Ministerial Stance and a Relational Ministerial Stance, March 2010

This dissertation explores the limitations and opportunities of applying a Social Construction stance to congregational ministry through Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and Relational Responsibility. (RR) Ministers often stand in the middle between the Academy and their congregations, drawing on their theological studies to impart wisdom as experts in a top down fashion to inspire congregational life. An interdisciplinary dialogue between Social Constructionist professional ministry and theologians creates ministerial leadership alternatives through dialogic theology constructed within the relationships between minister and congregation. Drawing on the relational understandings of Social Constructionist as practiced in the author’s own experience, this dissertation explores the implications of understanding and practicing ministry from a relational stance, expanding ministry beyond traditional individualistic, subject-object leadership choices.