Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Erich W. Baumgartner

Second Advisor

Jerome D. Thayer

Third Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Abstract

Problem. Many German Christian denominations have been losing members year by year for the past five decades. There are more and more voices that question the way pastors function as leaders. Therefore, this study looked at the differences of personality traits among pastors of Free Churches in Germany in the context of church growth. The leading research question was. What kind of leadership traits, behaviors, and attitudes are favorable to lead a church toward growth and to return stagnating churches to vibrancy?

Methodology. The “Business-focused Inventory of Personality” was sent out to 1,100 Pentecostal, Baptist, and Adventist pastors, of whom eventually 220 responded. In addition, demographic data and personal perceptions of skills, abilities, and activities were asked for. Pastors of growing churches were compared with pastors of plateaued or declining churches using Chi Square, ANOVA, and discriminant analysis.

Conclusion. Pastors of growing churches demonstrated higher self-confidence, emotional stability, power over systems, power over people, networking, and perseverance in the face of opposition. The ability to deal with setbacks, rejection, and failure to such a degree that the goal-orientation does not get lost is characteristic for mission-oriented pastors. Considering the demographic data, the probability that pastors would be in a growing church increased with tenure, especially after 10 years. Pastors of declining churches with more than one church did less well than pastors of declining churches with just one church. Finally, pastors of growing churches scored higher in regard to mission-orientation, team-orientation, and training of members.

Subject Area

Christian leadership--Germany--Comparative studies, Church growth--Germany--Comparative studies, Free churches--Germany.

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