Hand Abstract March 2012

Leadership Practices of Southern Baptist Pastors and Their Churches’ Missional Activity

Michael A. Hand

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TITLE: Leadership Practices of Southern Baptist Pastors and Their Churches’ Missional Activity
RESEARCHER: Michael A. Hand
Graduate Leadership Program
Tennessee Temple University
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: March 2012

The purpose of this research was to examine the effect of leadership activities and practices on the mission activities of both the pastors and their churches.

The study focused on 2,000 senior pastors randomly selected from the more than 22,000 Southern Baptist pastors in the continental United States. The response rate was just over 26 percent, yielding 528 respondents, who completed the Leadership Practices Inventory and provided demographic information. Internal reliability coefficients (Cronbach’s alpha) in this study were: Model the Way (.73), Inspire a Shared Vision (.84), Challenge the Process (.82), Enable Others to Act (.74), and Encourage the Heart (.88).

Enable was the leadership practice that pastors reported engaging in most frequently, followed by Model and Encourage, and then Inspire, and finally Challenge. Comparisons of these respondents with the Kouzes Posner normative database revealed some statistically significant differences in how frequently these leadership practices were used by pastors of Southern Baptist churches. The latter engaged in Model significantly less, but for Inspire, Enable and Encourage significantly more.

There were significant, but small, correlations between the leadership practices of Model, Inspire, Challenge, and Inspire and the number of international mission trips, as well as number of US-Canadian trips and the number of local missions activities. The correlations were generally not statistically significant between the five leadership practices and the number of state mission trips.

The author concludes:
First, leadership is important in providing direction within all organizations, secular or religious. Effective leaders are those who seek ways to hone their leadership skills and effectiveness. Second, in order for the pastor to effectively lead his congregation he must employ highly effective leadership practices. Effectively leading people is not just prudent in the business world, but in the religious world, as well. Third, while it is the supposition of this researcher, the Kouzes and Posner leadership practices he employs might demonstrate that they are profitable practices for all ministries of the church. What makes a leader to be successful is consistency. Positive leadership skills contribute the leader or pastor being successful in all areas of leadership. Fourth, while it is the supposition of the researcher, for effective leadership practices might signal the pastor’s need to devote attention and time to create and engage in leadership practices that are beneficial for encouraging the church in all ministries, including missional activity. The time and attention to creating and engaging the leadership practices of one aspect of leadership can be beneficial in all areas of ministry leadership for the pastor. And, fifth, while it is the supposition of this researcher, effective leadership practices might be the key for pastors bringing together the three aspects of ministry -- direction, purpose, and people -- in fulfilling the Great Commission (pp. 81-82).



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