What does it look like when a church is led by a woman within a denomination that does not ordain or title women as “pastors”? How does a congregation become known for shared leadership between men and women within a denominational context like that? Can a focus on contemplation and justice be held together, or is it inevitable that any given congregation will drift toward only one?


Place and Space:

  • Life on the Vine Church in Long Grove, IL; planted in 2001
  • Denominational affiliation: Christian & Missionary Alliance
  • Suburban community, 135-150 people
  • Predominately white, ~10% Asian American
  • Worship space: seating in the round w/ Table in the center

Theological Themes:

  • Challenges of cultivating community within suburban sprawl
  • Mutual submission and co-pastoring
  • Spirit-led mission
  • Empowering women in leadership
  • Liturgical worship; Robert Webber
  • Contemplation

Tension and Disorientation:

  • Pastoring a dispersed community
  • Being a prophetic presence within the denomination

Hope and New Life:

  • Learning to practice lament at the intersection of contemplation and justice
  • Becoming a welcoming culture for women


Note from Host Seth Richardson:

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As always, I want to hear from you. Let me know what listening provokes in you. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can engage directly with the Telos Lab and create a custom research project for your community, drop me an email. I would love to chat.