The Use of Social Power Bases by Southern Baptist Leaders: A Mixed Methods Study
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SubjectFrench, John R. P., 1913-
Raven, Bertram Herbert, 1926-
Power (Social sciences)
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Chapter 1 introduces the background of social power bases and explains the taxonomy introduced by John R. P. French, Jr. and Bertram H. Raven in 1959. A brief review of the literature on social power in the context of evangelical churches shows that little or no quantitative research has been conducted on this topic. The chapter presents a brief overview of the research design. Chapter 2 reviews the literature on social power bases using the Raven taxonomy of 1992. It also considers the organizational and ideological factors which might influence the use of social power bases by leaders in Southern Baptist churches. These factors include congregational form of church governance, belief in soul competency and priesthood of the believer, and beliefs about the role of women in church leadership. The literature pertaining to the research variables of gender, age, size of the church, and community context of the church are reviewed. Chapter 3 presents the design of the research on the use of social power bases in a local church context. The study is a mixed-method descriptive study using a stratified cluster sample of Southern Baptist churches in Texas. Volunteer leaders in congregations across Texas participated in an online survey which involved a hypothetical scenario in a local church. The researcher interviewed a member of the pastoral staff of each congregation to obtain information about the church size, community context, organizational structure, and leadership atmosphere. Chapter 4 describes the compilation procedures and statistical analysis. The study shows that Southern Baptists in Texas use all eleven social power bases to some extent but that the information power base and legitimate dependence bases are the most likely to be used. Legitimate reciprocity and the coercive power bases are the least likely to be used. Chapter 5 discusses the findings and implications for ministry in the local church. Responses to the qualitative portion of the study indicate that Southern Baptist leaders reflect strong Biblical values in their use of social power bases.