The purpose of this study was to determine if leadership behaviors can predict church population growth.
The entire populations of churches within the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and Missionary Church denominations located within the United States were surveyed except for those church congregations that had a senior pastoral change during the 3-year survey period (2005-2007). Of the 600 church congregations in the two denominations, 376 church congregations had not had a pastoral change since 2005. A total of 76 church congregations participated in this survey. The senior pastor was asked to distribute the instructions for taking the online survey to the 10 people within their congregation who could best answer questions about their leadership abilities, as measured by the Leadership Practices Inventory (Observer). Church attendance data were gathered from the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and the Missionary Church denominational headquarters.
The correlational analyses indicated that each of the leadership behaviors had a positive, though not statistically significant, relationship with church population growth. The regression analyses also indicated that there was a positive relationship between each of the five leadership behaviors and church growth but the amount of explained variance was less than 0.10. The researcher concludes that “continued research regarding why and how church congregations grow, as well as the leadership requirements of effective senior pastors is warranted based on the research reviewed” (p. 110).