Project Documents

Date of Award

2004

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Skip Bell

Second Advisor

S. Joseph Kidder

Third Advisor

Miroslav M. Kis

Abstract

Problem. There is a need for a greater understanding of the relationship that exists between the minister and the congregation. The quality of their relationship determines, to a great degree, the health of their church organization. As persons, ministers possess certain qualifications, abilities, and personality traits that enable them to lead. These comprise the minister’s bases of power. Leaders determine (often unknowingly) how their bases of power are used. Relational dynamics take place when the minister uses power and asserts authority. The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not a relationship exists between the minister’s power bases and congregational health.

Method. A research survey was sent to 500 Seventh-day Adventist congregational leaders to rate their ministers according to five bases of power (Expert, Referent, Reward, Legitimate, and Coercive). The survey also asked the respondents to reflect on the health and morale of their congregations.

Results. A comparison between the members’ ratings of their ministers’ power bases and the responses regarding the health of their congregations reveals that a correlation does exist between them. The results of this study indicate that pastoral power has the potential either to improve the church’s situation or to make it worse, and that it is statistically predictable.

Conclusions. Ministers of churches and church administrators should become more sophisticated with respect to issues of leadership, power, and influence. Without the needed awareness and skills, leaders risk being overwhelmed by the pathological aspects of organizational structures that regularly reduce initiative, innovation, morale, and excellence in all levels of church life. With increased knowledge, it may become possible to make the world of congregational life more wholesome, and thus, more effective in fulfilling the Gospel Commission.

Subject Area

Pastoral theology--Seventh-day Adventists

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