Book Review: Together in Ministry by Rob Dixon

This is a book review of Together in Ministry by Rob Dixon. In Together in Ministry, Author Rob Dixon looks at what leads to flourishing mixed gender-relationships, or what women and men experience and exemplify when in flourishing ministry-context partnerships. Rob is both an associate regional ministry director with InverVaristity Christian Fellowship and an adjunct professor at Fresno Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary. This book was released in 2021 by IVP Academic and the Missio Alliance

I had the chance to experience a class taught by Dr. Rob Dixon, unrelated to this book, while I was completing my second master's program, the Master of Arts in Global Leadership at Fuller Seminary. Not only did I appreciate how he handled his class, but I also appreciated how he worked through the topic of mixed-gender relationships in Together in Ministry. Though I may not agree with all of his points, nor his reflections on his findings, I am deeply challenged by his call for intentionality in this area of ministry and by his strategic look at this topic in light of scripture.

The findings presented in this book incorporate the doctoral research Dixon did in his dissertation work, to “determine the best combination of attributes that constitute flourishing mixed-gender ministry partnerships.”[1] Driving his research was a goal to “assemble those attributes [of flourishing mixed-gender partnerships] into a model that individuals and communities could use to build such partnerships in greater measure.”[2] I would say that very much is the framework of this book, and it also captures the ways that I could see this book being best utilized. It is worthy of note that his focus is on “the particular context of Christian ministry,”[3] and he clarifies that by the term mixed-gender, he is referring “specifically referring to ministry partnerships between women and men.”[4] In addition to sharing his findings and developing the foundations of a ministry model, Dixon looks to outline the state of the church in this matter now and unpack the scriptural impulse he sees calling for a different way.

Though this book makes some succinct, concise, and important arguments for women in senior leadership and though it unpacks scriptures that illustrate and illuminate the theological understandings of egalitarianism, that is not seemingly the core point of this book. Rather, Dixon calls us to greater awareness of the scriptural and practical need for mixed-gender ministry partnerships, revealing the way our ministries become more holistic, and the ways our missional expression becomes more effective. Dixon also explores what makes a mixed-gender ministry partnership flourish, and then challenges the global and local church to greater boldness and intentionality in our practice of mixed-gender ministry relationships to better encourage and empower everyone in the church community. I would suggest that even those from the complementarian camp would find something in this book.

There are eleven chapters, a forward, introduction, and conclusion that are spread across three sections of this book. The three sections and corresponding chapters reflect the ministry model presented in Together in Ministry. The three foundations of the ministry model in this book include the inner life (Part 1), community culture (Part 2), and intentional practices (Part 3). Dixon looks at the way the “state of a person’s inner world will go a long way toward dictating how they engage with their environment,”[5] and mixed-gender partnerships. Secondly, he considers the way the culture of our community will enhance or diminish the potential of these partnerships.[6] In the last section, Together in Ministry unpacks some very practical and intentional ways to step out in faith in this area. Dixon remarks stepping out is the most important part or we will be “unlikely to reap the rewards that come with [these] partnerships.”[7]

I think the strongest aspects of this book include his research and the experiences shared by those he interviewed while researching, showing what has made their mixed-gender relationships flourish. Additionally, there is a serious strength to the way Dixon calls for the church to be intentional, practical, aware, and full of courage in this area of ministry practice. His framework is thorough and worth wrestling with. For me, the weakest areas of this book would include the lack of offering a contrast to his theological points and his critique of the Billy Graham rules. While Dixon is right that for the most part, mixed-gender ministry relationships in the church have only been looked at through paradigms like that of the Billy Graham rule, some of his arguments against this model in Together in Ministry are better than others. I think more time could have been spent on a better model, and further exploring its weaknesses.

In conclusion, Together in Ministry by Rob Dixon offers a compelling framework for cultivating flourishing mixed-gender ministry partnerships within the context of Christian ministry. I highly recommend it for this reason. I find this resource unmatched and unique. Dixon's thorough research and practical insights provide valuable guidance for individuals and communities that are seeking to build stronger partnerships between women and men in their local churches or ministries. While the book offers some strong theological understandings of egalitarianism and women in senior leadership roles, its primary focus and strength lies in advocating for the importance of mixed-gender partnerships in enhancing the holistic nature and effectiveness of ministry. By addressing inner life, community culture, and intentional practices, Dixon equips readers with the tools necessary to step out in faith and embrace these partnerships with boldness and intentionality. Regardless of whether one aligns with complementarian or equalitarian views, Together in Ministry offers valuable insights and practical strategies for fostering flourishing mixed-gender partnerships in the church community.

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Highlights & Quotes

[1] Rob Dixon, Together in Ministry (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2021), 15.

[2] Rob Dixon, Together in Ministry (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2021), 15.

[3] Rob Dixon, Together in Ministry (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 20151), 15.

[4] Rob Dixon, Together in Ministry (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2021), 16.

[5] Rob Dixon, Together in Ministry (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2021), 27.

[6] Rob Dixon, Together in Ministry (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2021), 63.

[7] Rob Dixon, Together in Ministry (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2021), 111.


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