Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Philosophy
gendered leadership, pastoral care, adaptive leadership, masculine, feminine, relational leadership
Phelan, Joshua D., "Gendered Pastoral Care: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study of the Lived Experiences of Parishioners" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4017.
Pastoral care has a rich theological history which guides modern care applications. Pastoral care is generally understood as helping acts meant to guide believers toward spiritual formation (Clebsch & Jaekle, 1983). Gendered pastoral leadership could have an impact in how pastoral care is experienced by church parishioners. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of twelve parishioners who had received pastoral care under both a male and a female lead pastor at three churches. Eagly’s (1987) social role theory served as a theoretical framework for this study. This research utilized personal interviews to collect data from selected participants. Collected data were coded and analyzed using Heidegger’s philosophical framework of interpretive hermeneutical phenomenology to attempt to understand the essential meaning surrounding the lived experiences of individuals surrounding the given phenomena (Crist & Tanner, 2003; Peoples, 2021). The provided initial data into the potential similarities and differences in how male and female lead pastors administer pastoral care and how these perceived differences may impact those under their care.