Leadership, Religious

DEVELOPING ELDERS AT GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH OF SEAL BEACH

Author
Robert Wriedt D.Min.
Abstract
This Doctor of Ministry project created a training program for potential elders at Grace Community Church of Seal Beach. The first section of the project is a biblical and theological study of Christian leadership generally and eldership specifically that locates elder training within Christian discipleship. It then moves on to an integration of the contemporary literature on elder and board training, seeking to combine the best of theologically driven works (such as those by Anyabwile, Rinne, and Strauch) with writers focused on practical concerns (such as Busby or Malphurs and Mancini) as well as secular leadership theorists (such as Kouzes and Posner, Greenleaf, and Carver).

The qualitative research project itself focuses on how to train elders using a nine-week small group format. Since elder training is rooted in the growth of character (“Be”), knowledge (“Know”) and practice (“Do”), each week’s meeting included sections on theology, ministry skills, and Christian character. Participant growth was measured by interviews before, during, and after the conclusion of the nine weeks, as well as by observed behavior within the context of the group. The project appendices include full descriptions of the course content that was taught and the readings that were assigned to participants.

One of the key findings from this project was the necessity of training elders prior to their invitation to serve as elders, rather than waiting for them to begin service on the board or even before they were asked to serve as elders in the upcoming year. An analogy would be to compare it to pre-engagement counseling, rather than pre-marital or marital counseling. Participants stated that the training provided clarity of what was expected of elders was very helpful in their discernment process, which excited some and caused others to opt out of the process.

Developing a Ministry Team Leadership Training Strategy for Selected Members of Crossroads Baptist Church, Valdosta, Georgia

Author
Mark Thomas Avery
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to develop a ministry team leadership development strategy for Crossroads Baptist Church of Valdosta, Georgia. The project director implemented the following components within the cope of this project: (1) creating of a leadership needs assessment through in-depth interviews with key leaders; (2) a report on best practices and training models based on extensive research within the field of church volunteer leadership development; (3) development of a leadership training strategy specifically for Crossroads Baptist Church; and (4) presentation of the training strategy to the pastoral staff of the church for approval. Implementation of the strategy was not within the scope of this project.

CREATING A LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY TO ALIGN AND EQUIP LEADERS AT GRACE LUTHERAN MINISTRIES

Author
Joel Howard D.Min.
Abstract
Grace Lutheran Ministries in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, strives to affect both its congregation and community through ministry. As ministry grows, it is essential for Grace to implement a strategy for developing leaders and deploying them into ministry. This major project focused on the essential nature, culture, and strategies for empowering leaders from not just the paid staff but from among all of God’s people and then developing them in areas of character and competency. The project also focused on the importance of alignment in the leadership development process.

The project utilized three research methods. First, a Biblical, theological, and literary study of leadership development was done in the areas of character, competency, and alignment. Second, questionnaires and a focus group were used to understand the current view of leadership development and alignment among Grace’s leaders. Third, the nominal group technique was utilized to brainstorm key ideas and strategies for the leadership development strategy.

A strategic plan was developed that began with creating a leadership culture around the unified use of language through leadership principles. Then, four strategic goals were created to develop, deploy, and debrief leaders at Grace through the use of small groups, coaching, and large group settings. Finally, the effectiveness of the leadership principles and strategic goals were evaluated by Grace’s senior staff through a SWOT analysis.

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

Author
Rebecca J. Girrell D.Min.
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.

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

Author
William Mattison King D.Min.
Abstract
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.

An Analysis of the Cultural and Leadership Differences Among Leaders in the Chinese Immigrant Church in America

Author
Ke-Chiang (Albert) Li D.Min.
Abstract
The author Ke-Chiang (Albert) Li saw that in the 21st century, globalization is impacting all industries and almost all aspects of our lives. Chinese immigrant churches in America, like most organizations, are facing many challenges. One of the biggest challenges is how to deal with cultural differences inside the church. The differences are not only between ABC (American Born Chinese) and OBC (Overseas Born Chinese), but also among OBC who come from different parts of China and all over the world. Chinese immigrant churches losing young people and failing to reach ABC have been known problems for more than the past twenty-five years. Most books and papers use old Chinese culture to describe OBC culture and American culture to describe ABC culture to analyze the problems and try to help people to know themselves and to know each other. This approach has helped some of the churches, but it has also caused some confusion and issues when people use this to stereotype the OBC and ABC leaders in the church.

This project used a survey to investigate the cultural and leadership differences among leaders in the Chinese immigrant church in America. The result clearly shows that it is a mistake and will cause confusion when we stereotype ABC is American culture and OBC is Chinese culture. It is mixed up. Each individual have their own even in their same age group.

The author sincerely hopes that through Biblical truth and information from social science, the suggestions in this project report can contribute to finding successful ways to lead across cultures in the Chinese immigrant church in America and help develop Christian leaders capable of leading across cultures in the church and in the world.

Case Studies of Multiple Executive Staff Leadership in the Local Church

Author
Matthew Clifton Gillum D.Min.
Abstract
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.

Toward an Effective Pastoral Mentoring Strategy:
E. K. Bailey’s Training of Prospective Pastoral Candidates

Author
Felix Caston D.Min.
Abstract
This dissertation examines the pastoral mentoring strategy utilized by E. K. Bailey at Concord Baptist Church to train young preachers to become pastors.
Chapter 1 introduces E. K. Bailey and provides his ministry credentials. It also establishes the need for training preachers to be resourceful in serving churches of a new generation.
Chapter 2 shares Bailey’s biography and gives a synopsis of his life while documenting experiences, accomplishments, and individuals that shaped his life.
Chapter 3 gives an overview of Bailey’s Ministry Strategy, including development, implementation, and goals.
Chapter 4 includes an analysis of Bailey’s Ministry Strategy. An examination is done of the target of his ministry and the expected outcome.
Chapter 5 examines the implementation of Bailey’s Ministry Strategy at Concord Baptist Church, along with an assessment of how it impacted Concord.
Chapter 6 concludes the dissertation and offers areas for further research, as well as, recommendations how this dissertation can be used by pastors in preparing young preachers to become pastors.

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

Author
Michael S. Johnson D.Min.
Abstract
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.

Christ-Centered Leadership: The Formation of Millennials

Author
Sean Wood D.Min.
Abstract
The problem this project addressed is the perceived lack of Christocentric leadership development among millennials of Canadian churches with over one thousand people in attendance. In response to this problem the researcher explored Christ-centered leadership formation and discipleship in the New Testament and early church. The literature reviewed related to the uniqueness of millennials as it connects to leadership development. The researcher interviewed two Senior Pastors who are considered highly influential with the millennial cohort. These two leaders have both led effective church congregations in Canada during their respective twenty-plus year tenure serving the same churches. Millennial leaders who are actively serving in roles of influence within these two churches also participated in this project. Fourteen were personally interviewed from the thirty-seven who completed an online survey. Three millennial cohort specialists were also interviewed. One is a respected Canadian sociologist, one is a counselor, author, corporate coach and Canadian media personality, and the third leads Canada’s premier sports camp and retreat center. Canada is an increasingly secularized country in which emerging generations are struggling to be rooted in Christ and effective in discipling and serving those within their sphere of influence. Through the analysis of the results of this project, and leaning on the research discovered, the researcher developed and presents seven principles in Christ-centered leadership for millennials living in Canada.
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