Church Revitalization and the Role of Pastoral Leadership: A Mixed-Methods Study
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The church in North America is struggling. Among Southern Baptists, the nation’s second largest denomination, approximately 1,000 churches close their doors every year and thousands more drift closer to that point every day. Thousands of students graduate seminary each year and step immediately into leadership of a declining church where they face incomprehensible challenges, and many do it alone. This study examined the condition of Southern Baptist Convention churches over an eleven-year period ending in 2016. Having identified those churches that have been led to revitalization, this study examined the influence of leadership structure, leadership culture, and a leader’s competencies, on church revitalization. The study identified leadership structures implemented by successful revitalization pastors to influence change leading to health, as well as explored the leadership development culture within the church prior and subsequent to revitalization. Furthermore, the study identified the leader’s competencies deemed most important by successful revitalizers.