Multi-Racial Team Leadership in the Church: A Mixed Methods Study
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If the church in the United States is ever going to make progress in becoming more racially diverse, it must be led by racially diverse leadership. But racially diverse leadership teams are rare, and many of the few that exist struggle because of cultural pressure, personal agendas, or leadership incompetence. This thesis focused on both the challenges and the opportunities at the convergence of race, church, and leadership. Although much has been written separately on these three important disciplines, there is currently little empirical research that deals with Black/White dynamics among the leaders in the local church. This two-phase, sequential mixed methods multi-case study aimed to examine and identify patterns and practices in Black/White leadership teams in churches and determine significant factors that contribute to their successes and failures. Case studies were conducted of three churches led by racially diverse leadership teams. Each case study included personal interviews with pastoral leadership to determine the ministerial practices and patterns of effective shared leadership. Cross-case analysis revealed common traits and marks among the case study leadership team dynamics. These experiences were organized into a list of shared practices. To assist churches that desire to have racially diverse leadership or to improve its current leadership effectiveness, this study includes a list of recommendations for practice based on the research data.