Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Arnold A. Kurtz
In recent years much has been written in non-Adventist and non-clergy literature concerning role conflict and role ambiguity. Adventist perceptions of role and the importance Adventists attribute to such roles in ministry may differ from the perceptions of non- Adventist clergy and writers. Hence, a specific study of Adventist clergy was necessary to determine if such a problem exists in Adventism and if the conclusions of other studies are applicable in an Adventist context.
It was proposed that an evaluation of the current status of Adventist clergy in the North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) regarding role function and performance would indicate much 1 2 frustration, conflict, and ambiguity which is detrimental to the work of pastoral ministry. This project investigated, defined, and determined the sources and extent of role conflict and ambiguity experienced by pastors in the NPUC. It was discovered that role conflict and ambiguity are present in the working force of the NPUC and that serious consequences are engendered by the inherent dangers of role stress. Pastors exposed to excessive role strain experience such dysfunctional symptoms as tension, anxiety, depression, psychosomatic disease, alienation, communication breakdown, loss of integrity, and sexual attractions and involvements. Beyond the emotional/psychological consequences, several organizational consequences are evident such as: lower levels of productivity, job dissatisfaction, a sense of job threat, a propensity to leave employment, suspicion toward administration, high levels of turnover, and less job involvement. Person variables were found to moderate the degree to which role problems create such consequences.
The most significant sources of role conflict appear to be the discrepancies that exist between: (1) The expectations that congregations have of pastors and the expectations held by administrators, (2) The actual expectations administrators have of pastors and the pastor's perception of administrative expectations. Although the problem is serious, it is not hopeless. The findings reveal that pastors must be proactive in minimizing role stress. Several self-help strategies appear useful: negotiating responsibilities and expectations with role senders, avoiding withdrawal behaviors, checking out perceptions to verify whether 3 conflict is legitimate or merely inaccurate perceptions, pursuing pastoral services, physical exercise, systematic relaxation exercises, and thought-stopping procedures. Further, the theological perspective was investigated in terms of the ministry of Jesus Christ and His response to conflicting expectations and strain inherent to ministry.
McBride, Michael G., "Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity Applicable to the Local Pastor in the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists" (1984). Project Documents. 596.
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