Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
S. Joseph Kidder
Miroslav M. Kis
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.
Pastoral theology--Seventh-day Adventists
Walikonis, Steven R., "The Phenomenon of Power in the Church: an Investigation and Analysis of the Relational Dynamics Experienced in the Context of the Assertion of Authority" (2004). Project Documents. 143.
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