A qualitative study exploring how senior pastors can deliberately move the congregation toward systemic gospel health
Edward W Dunnington
The purpose of this study was to explore how senior pastors can lead congregations toward systemic gospel health. The research focused on how pastors describe systemic health, what pastors believe to be hindrances to systemic health, and how pastors cultivate systemic health within their congregations. The literature reviewed included biblical and theological material relating to a congregation's systemic nature and the definition of congregational gospel health; change theory; systems theory; and the leader's role. The researcher interviewed two senior pastors of two different churches, their spouses, staff, and lay leaders. Both senior leaders articulated four factors that the literature supported: personal and marital growth; thinking systemically about the congregation; a working knowledge of change theory; and having at least one co-laborer in the work of change. This kind of systemic change is not simply technical in nature, but adaptive and cannot be done alone.