No Longer Servants, But Friends: Toward a Relational Approach to Spiritual Leadership Development

Full Title
No Longer Servants, But Friends: Toward a Relational Approach to Spiritual Leadership Development
Author
Rebecca J. Girrell D.Min.
ORCID
0000-0002-5552-6136
Abstract
No Longer Servants, but Friends: Toward a Relational Approach to Spiritual Leadership Development is a participatory action research project in which the pastor-researcher and the leadership development team (LDT) of a small United Methodist congregation worked collaboratively to shift the team’s mindset and methods from nominations to leadership development. Using a shared leadership model and tools of appreciative inquiry, the pastor-researcher encouraged the LDT to identify gaps in the church’s leadership system and brainstorm and implement possible solutions. The intervention took place during the 2019-2020 program year and was, therefore, affected by the unanticipated challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the pastor-researcher’s move to a different church. This allowed the pastor-researcher to observe the LDT’s shift in mindset and methods under the pressure of these circumstances.
The pastor-researcher observed the LDT’s process and outcomes and evaluated the members’ self-reported experiences via questionnaire, group interviews, and meeting transcripts. The key findings of the study illustrated that the LDT members experienced their process favorably, especially as evidenced by adopting the collaborative and systemic approaches they experienced in the intervention and applying these approaches to their work with other church leaders. Additionally, the study found that LDT members reported reduced anxiousness in their tasks, increased confidence in their effectiveness, and strong commitment to their shift in mindset, even in the face of the unanticipated crises. Most LDT members attributed these positive experiences to aspects of the intervention, including shared purpose, understanding of the church leadership system, collaborative leadership, and relationship with the pastor-researcher. The pastor-researcher identified opportunity for further study regarding long-term effects of such interventions and the impacts of interpersonal relationships, particularly with the pastor, on the experience and process of church leadership development.
Degree Granting Institution
Country
United States
Degree Granted
Doctor of Ministry
Major
Congregational Leadership
Type of Work
D.Min. Project
Advisor
Mark R. Teasdale Ph.D.
Language
English
Date
2021
Number of Pages
216
Copyright Statement
Copyright is held by author. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.