Donna R. Downes

Associate Professor of Global LeadershipSchool of Intercultural Studies

Contact Information
BA, University of Missouri-Columbia
MA, California State University, Fullerton
DMiss, Biola University

Donna R. Downes is associate professor of global leadership, teaching courses primarily within Fuller’s innovative Master of Arts in Global Leadership program. She joined the Fuller faculty in the fall of 2007 after having taught for seven years at the School of Baptist Theology within the University of Bucharest. Downes was a missionary with One Challenge (OC) International in Romania for 12 years, during which time she assisted in the design of a nationwide church census project, edited various publications, organized several city-wide NGO events, and taught in both the seminary and public university contexts. Prior to that, she served for 12 years—also through OC International—as a senior lecturer in Communications at Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya. Before going overseas, Donna was a lecturer for four years in the Department of Communications at California State University, Fullerton.

One of Downes’s key areas of research is cross-cultural leadership and the globalization of mission. Her interest in these topics began with the 1990 publication of a research project concerning patterns of Christian giving in Kenya, the purpose of which was to understand and encourage the sustainability of Africa-based mission organizations. In addition, her experiences in her own organization as it moved toward globalization of its mission strategies, funding, and missionary force, raised questions that led to her dissertation research: “The Globalization of Mission: Missiological Dream or Management Nightmare?”

Since then, her interests have expanded to include training and development of non-Western missionaries, as well as understanding the complexities of intercultural teams and global missions management. Downes has written articles for several missiological periodicals and contributed a chapter on women in missions entitled “Negotiating Female Missionary Roles Cross-Culturally” to Frontline Women (ed. Marguerite Kraft, 2012). She also conducted a case study on cross-cultural leadership that forms a significant part of the book Agents of Transformation (by Sherwood Lingenfelter, 1996) and a chapter on approaches to globalization of mission in Reflecting God’s Glory Together (ed. A. Scott Moreau and Beth Snodderly, 2011). Downes is a member of the American Society of Missiology and the Evangelical Missiological Society.

Courses Taught

  • ML581: Developing Your Learning Plan
  • ML528: Character, Community, and Leadership
  • ML583: Global Leadership: Implications for Ministry
  • ML584: Crosscultural Dynamics of Global Leadership
  • MP519: Missional Engagement with Contemporary Culture
  • MP520: Transforming Contemporary Culture

Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing

Global leadership development and training; intercultural communications; cross-cultural management; and the theology, history and strategy of missions (especially in Africa and Eastern Europe)

Biblical Studies, THEOLOGY


  • 2012. Negotiating Female Missionary Roles Cross-Culturally. Chapter 7, pp. 125-154. In Frontline Women: Negotiating Cross-Cultural Issues in Ministry, 2nd ed. Marguerite Kraft, ed. Pasadena, CA: Wm. Carey
  • 2011. The Multifaceted Journey Toward Globalization in Mission: Lessons in Flexibility, Humility, and Community. Chapter 7, pp. 125-140 in Reflecting God’s Glory Together. A Scott Moreau and Beth Snodderly, eds. Pasadena, CA: Wm. Carey.
  • 2011. MissionShift (Review). Evangelical Missions Quarterly 47, 2 (April): 246-248.
  • 2004. The Globalization of Mission: Missiological Dream or Management Nightmare? Doctoral Dissertation. La Mirada, CA: Biola University. Available through University Microfilms ProQuest Product Nr. 3123829.
  • 2003. Confused Missionary Roles—Theirs or Mine? Chapter 7 in Frontline Women: Negotiating Cross-cultural Issues in Ministry. Marguerite G. Kraft, ed. Pasadena, CA: Wm. Carey Library.
  • 1996. Union Ltd.: A Case of Mission and National Partnership. In Agents of Transformation by Sherwood Lingenfelter. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, pp. 54-59; 73-77; 91-94; 113-118; 137-141; 157-162; 180-183; 199-215 (51 pages total).
  • 1994. With Stanley Downes. Are Church Leaders Preventing their Churches from Giving? Kenya Church Growth Bulletin 4, 2: 4-5.
  • 1992. The Cure for Dependency: Teach your churches to give! Evangelical Missions Quarterly 28, 2: 142-150.
  • 1990. Raising Funds in Kenya: A Survey of Middle to Upper Income Churchgoers. Nairobi, Kenya: Daystar University Press.
  • 1989. Have You Checked Your Pockets? Interlit Magazine (Dec.): 7-9.
  • 1987. With A. Dei-Awuku Funding the African Missionary Movement. In The African Missionary (Proceedings from the Conference on African Missionaries) Limuru, Kenya: Church of the Province of Kenya.
  • 1982. The Use of Market Research in the Editing and Management of Newspapers: A Case Study of Four Los Angeles Area Newspapers. Master’s thesis. Fullerton, CA: California State University. Available on microfilm from the University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Master’s Abstracts.
  • 1981. The Effect of Changing American Social Values on the Editorial Content, Style and Management of Newspapers. Unpublished paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for Education in Journalism. Michigan State University, East Lansing, microfilm.

Faculty Search

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