Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Jay Brand

Second Advisor

Mordekai Ongo

Third Advisor

Ella Simmons



The purpose of this study was to develop a theoretical model that describes how the behavioral strategies of Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) pastors in Sub-Saharan Africa may have positively influenced congregational giving during the years 2020-2021 of the COVID-19 pandemic.


A qualitative grounded theory research design was used (Corbin & Strauss, 2015). In-depth interviews were conducted to collect data from a purposive sample of SDA pastoral leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa. The collected data were analyzed using an iterative process consisting of open, axial, and selective coding, thereby facilitating the construction of subcategories and a core category. This analytical process was aimed at the formulation of a substantive theory.


Seven pastoral behavioral strategies or processes of local church pastors, derived from the research process, were identified as positively influencing giving during a time of disruption: (a) identifying disruptions, (b) holding convictions about congregational giving, (c) following the figures, (d) topping up instructions, (e) cultivating personal connections, (f) subdividing and integrating responsibilities, and (g) providing alternatives. Although these actions are most likely to positively influence the giving practices of church members, alternative outcomes such as a decrease in giving, an improved motivation to give or a delayed response represent other possibilities. Through the process of selective coding, these behavioral strategies (categories) were consolidated into a possible theoretical model: “Mobilizing Resources During Disruption.”


This study suggests that pastoral leadership holds the potential to influence members’ prosocial behaviors, such as congregational giving during times of disruption. A multifaceted approach, involving not only teaching about giving but also how pastoral leaders conduct church, appears to make a difference. Building on the findings of this study, it would be helpful to validate the theoretical model using a quantitative research design study. Additionally, local church communities and church pastors could engage with the constructed model, making the needed adaptations and refinements, eventually leading to hopefully improved outcomes in the giving practices of congregants.

Subject Area

Africa, Sub-Saharan; Seventh-day Adventists--Africa, Sub-Saharan--Clergy; Christian stewardship--Seventh-day Adventists; COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020- -- Africa, Sub-Saharan