Church administration

Closing the Gap Between Surviving and Thriving: Designing Interventions for Adaptive Change with the Vision Implementation Teams at Augusta Road Baptist Church

William Mattison King D.Min.
Augusta Road Baptist Church has served Greenville, South Carolina for ninety-five years. After a season of conflict, declining membership, and the unexpected loss of key leadership, a season of vision has allowed the congregation to ask how it can adapt to live into a thriving future. Utilizing the principles of Adaptive Leadership Theory developed by Ronald Heifetz, this thesis tests the potential of an adaptive change process to facilitate the first steps of congregational vision implementation.

Sixteen Augusta Road Baptist Church leaders were oriented to the principles of Adaptive Leadership Theory and asked to put them into practice. Through team meetings, these participants diagnosed technical and adaptive challenges facing the church, chose an adaptive challenge to address, and designed interventions to develop adaptive capacity within the congregation to help it live into its vision. Participants were also presented with spiritual reflections to facilitate the recognition of the Holy Spirit’s work in leading disruption and adaptation.

After introducing the research context and problem, this thesis traces the biblical, theological, and historical tradition of the Holy Spirit’s role in driving the church to adapt as it bears witness to Christ in changing and challenging contexts. It then explores the impact of an adaptive change process on project participants. It follows project participants as they design interventions for achieving congregational vision, recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in congregational life, and develop adaptive capacity. Finally, this thesis concludes with possibilities for utilizing this adaptive change process across all ministries at Augusta Road Baptist Church and in other congregations that find themselves in adaptive moments.

Case Studies of Multiple Executive Staff Leadership in the Local Church

Matthew Clifton Gillum D.Min.
As the local church grows bigger, the need also arises to manage that growth
well. At the executive level of leadership in the church, the question of excellence in
leadership must be addressed. Some churches have chosen to pursue that excellence via
the means of multiple executive staff leadership in the church. This function looks like
multiple staff members who wield executive leadership ability with a direct report to the
Senior Pastor.

This dissertation examines cases of churches that utilize this structure of
multiple executive staff members. Multiple executive leadership in the local church can
be effective when these following four factors are in place: a commitment to the church’s
vision and senior leadership, clearly defined roles in the ministry team, strategic hiring of
personnel, and flexibility of administration. These four factors were present in all of the
multiple executive staff teams interviewed. While the structure is not a one-size fits all
approach, it can be a helpful way of managing and continuing growth in the local church.

Using Luke's Slave Metaphor to Teach the Biblical Foundations for Financial Stewardship at First Baptist Church of Buffalo Gap, Texas

Charles Leon Gililland
This project evaluated whether a financial stewardship study built around Christ-centered stewardship principles (derived from Luke’s servant parables employing slavery metaphor) instead of practical financial planning could affect change in small group members' financial stewardship habits at First Baptist Church of Buffalo Gap, Texas.
Chapter 1 introduces the financial problem facing the Church today even in the midst of the American financial recovery, and the thesis of the project is presented. In addition, the theological background for the study with exegetical analysis of the Lukan parables is presented.
Chapter 2 outlines the project research plan and methodology. A weekly progress report is also included in this chapter.
Chapter 3 presents the qualitative and quantitative project analysis gathered from both a pre- and post-study survey and a pre- and post-study financial giving report. The chapter concludes with an executive summary that outlines the positive change in group members' habits and suggestions for further implementation of the project.

A Multiple Case Study: Participative Decision-Making in Four Black Indiana Churches

Michael S. Johnson D.Min.
This research study looked at factors in participative decision-making that would balance congregational polity and pastoral authority. A multiple-case study was conducted with four Black Baptist churches in central Indiana. Fifteen participants were interviewed across cases and organizational documents were analyzed. Four themes emerged from the study. They included effectiveness, unified involvement, decision parameters, and trusted leadership. Effectiveness related to support for a decision. Unified Involvement was about members’ sense of belonging. Parameters involved areas where certain groups had discretion in decision-making. Lastly, trusted leadership pertained to the calling of a pastor and the confidence members placed in that calling.

Equipping staff parish relations committees to have crucial conversations that lead to greater syzygy with staff and improved performance

John A. Laughlin Sr.
Syzygy is to be a team that moves as one, pulling powerfully in the same direction. In the United Methodist Church, the Staff Parish Relations Committee has the responsibility to supervise the work of church staff, but too many are faltering in their duties. This project details a workshop designed to guide the church in becoming more effective in directing and supervising the work of staff. Participants will learn how to create a culture of trust and accountability that leads to improved staff performance. Failing to manage staff, ignoring division, and tolerating poor performance is bad stewardship.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

The Impact of a Staff Performance Management System on Performance Outcomes and Employee Commitment in a Private, Christian, Higher Education Institution

Janis Lynn Ryder D.Min.
This thesis explored performance management in a private, Christian, Canadian, higher education institution. A Model for Effective Performance Management was developed which served as a framework for a participatory action research project that piloted a staff performance review process and tool aimed at improving employee performance and organizational commitment of university staff employees. Seven university departments were part of the pilot project which included participating in supervisor training, testing a new performance review process and tool, and providing post-pilot feedback.
Post-pilot online survey results and interviews with leaders demonstrated a higher rate of completed performance reviews, increased competency and comfort level of supervisors/appraisers to lead performance review conversations, and increased employee commitment and performance resulting from the performance review experience.
There are opportunities for HR professionals, churches, and para-church organizations to use and benefit from this research and the Model for Effective Performance Management.

Navigating organizational and leadership challenges as an assistant pastor, serving in an interim pastoral role

Joel David Hathaway
The purpose of this study was to explore how assistant pastors navigate challenges of adaptive leadership when the church loses its senior pastor, and the assistant pastor is expected to lead through the transition. A qualitative research methodology was employed to explore the scope of this topic. This study found that the exiting senior pastor, existing assistant/interim pastor, incoming senior pastor, and congregation all play active roles in guaranteeing success during pastoral transitions. This sh1dy also identified steps churches and pastors can take to retire outdated leadership models while integrating collaborative leadership methods that prepare congregations for periods of transition.

All things in good order: how senior pastors experience the Carver Policy Governance System in their congregations

Timothy J. Brand
The purpose of this study was to explore how Senior Pastors experience the implementation of the Carver Policy Governance Model in their congregations. Every Christian congregation has a system of governance, an agreed upon method to administer and manage the day to day operations, and exercise the ministry in good order. Many congregations and pastors face great challenges and unrest because of church governance issues. This issue is critical for pastoral health and longevity, as well as, congregational vitality and viability.
This study utilized a qualitative design using semi-structure interview with seven pastors from various denominations who served their congregations as senior pastors for ten years or longer. The literature review and analysis of the seven interviews focused on three key areas: the implementation of the Carver Policy Governance Model into the Congregation, the unique advantages of the Carver Policy Model, and the unique challenges of the Carver Policy Model.
This study concluded that there are eight components necessary to implement a policy based Board of Directors as the governing body of a congregation: outside resourcing, biblically based content, special pastoral character, full implementation of the Carver Model with the addition of an elder’s board (or its equivalent), clear separation of the administration and spiritual components, a high level of relational trust, a continual use of evaluation, and the implementation of teams.

A Model for Transitioning Leadership in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God In Christ

Nathaniel Alfonso Hall Jr.
Oftentimes the mission, vision, purpose, and plan of God lives longer than an individual. To see it achieved, it must be effectively passed to the next generation. No generation stands independent of its predecessors or those that follow. In fact, generations overlay and overlap one another. Each is uniquely equipped with men and women created by God for that generation. Every single generation stands on the shoulders of those who went before them. People build on and must not destroy the foundation that is laid before them. Therefore, the church's success is determined by and dependent upon the successful transition of its leadership. This research will explore the good, the bad, and the indifferent regarding this subject matter and document best practices for a successful leadership transition.


Steven Bray D.Min.
The purpose of this Doctor of Ministry project was to create an annual staff development plan for Fountain City Wesleyan Church which focused on both improving effectiveness in performance and encouraging personal, professional and spiritual development. Fountain City Wesleyan is a church of 1000 with nine full-time pastors and ministry directors. The project highlighted the powerful impact of combining goal setting, coaching, and evaluation to develop team members. In addition, the project concluded that high performance expectations can be countered by high care for team members.

This project conducted two case studies of similar churches to Fountain City Wesleyan Church. The project explored the biblical and theological basis for staff development including the identification of twelve biblical principles. The literature review analyzed three components of the annual development plan: crafting an action plan utilizing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Relevant and Timed) goals and strategies; regular coaching sessions; and an annual review process to provide additional performance conversation and formal documentation of employee performance.

This plan included a guide to create an action plan each trimester, the implementation schedule for the plan, a model for coaching staff (Connect, Opportunity, Alternatives, Course, Highlights), an annual self-review and performance review. Additionally, supplemental avenues to promote self-care among staff were identified. The final plan, tips and tools for coaching, tools for diagnosing development needs, and the research protocol are noted in the appendices.
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