Pastoral Leadership Practices in Evangelical Multiethnic Congregations: A Multi-Case Study
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ABSTRACT PASTORAL LEADERSHIP PRACTICES IN EVANGELICAL MULTIETHNIC CONGREGATIONS: A MULTI-CASE STUDY Raúl Martin Latoni Ramírez, Ed.D. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2012 Chair: Dr. Hal K. Pettegrew The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the best leadership practices of pastors of selected evangelical multiethnic congregations in the United States. The study was qualitative in nature and can best be described as a multiple or collective case study with purposeful sampling. The sample consisted of 30 pastors, including 6 women and 24 men, from 6 multiethnic congregations. The churches were located in 6 different regions of the country: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Pacific Northwest, West, and Southwest. The denominations represented in these churches included Independent Charismatic, Vineyard, Assemblies of God, Baptist, and Independent. The researcher used a revised version of the Personal Best Questionnaire as the primary means for collecting data (Kouzes and Posner 1987). This was completed by all participants who, in addition, completed a demographic data form created by the researcher. In order to triangulate the data, the researcher also incorporated data from personal observations during visits to each of these churches and from interviews with the senior pastor at the 6 churches. The gatekeeper or designated person at each church was also asked to fill out a questionnaire to provide demographic data pertaining to the church. The responses provided by the participants in this study confirmed and correlated well with the five practices of exemplary leadership proposed by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. The impetus for the participants' best practices came from personal conviction, perceived need, personal passion, leadership directive, and challenging the status quo. Over a third of the pastors responded to a perceived need, demonstrating that leaders do not always seek challenges; challenges seek leaders. Others initiated change in response to a perceived dissonance between personal or corporate values and current ministerial practices. Senior pastors were more likely than associate/assistant pastors to initiate change based on personal convictions. Other responses closely related to implementing change focused on pastors' behavior of developing and implementing a specific vision for their ministries. Senior pastors relied primarily on preaching and teaching to communicate their vision. Overall, respondents reported that the primary means to communicate vision and the need for change was by developing slogans and through the use of testimonies in various settings of the church. In order to build cohesiveness and promote trust in leadership, a majority of the participants reported the importance of building personal relationships with their church members. While senior pastors relied mostly on vision casting to foster collaboration in their respective ministries, associate pastors were more likely to foster collaboration through personal relationship development. Also, female pastors were twice as likely as their male counterparts to use personal words of affirmation to enhance the confidence of individuals in their abilities, thereby furthering their relationships with congregational members. One of the ways in which the participants fostered accountability was by modeling transparency, vulnerability, and honesty in communication. The researcher identified three primary spheres for modeling behavior among the participants: personal, organizational, and public. While associate pastors reported modeling behavior in one or two of these spheres, senior pastors demonstrated modeling behavior in all three spheres. KEYWORDS: Pastoral, leadership, multiethnic churches, evangelical, best leadership practices.