This study examined the extent of the relationship between exemplary leadership practices of senior pastors in the Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) and traditional church growth measurements.
The study involved 1,117 senior pastors who served in SBC churches in the Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) and 240 participated (21.5% response rate) by completing the Leadership Practices Inventory. The numeric data from the 2006 to 2010 Annual Church Profiles of churches in the GBC were used to determine church membership size and growth (one year worship, 10-year worship, one year membership growth, and 10-year membership growth).
The most frequent leadership practice reported by senior pastors was Enable, followed by Model and Encourage, and then Inspire and Challenge. Neither church membership size nor measures of growth were significantly correlated with the leadership practices of senior pastors. The author concludes:
Research in this study indicates that followership in churches does not match the leadership assessment of the senior pastor. The possibility that a gap exists between the senior pastor’s leadership theory and leadership practices is noteworthy. Kouzes and
Posner’s LPI-Self instrument measures transformational leadership practices, which align with biblical teaching on leadership. Yet, knowing the leadership practices and putting those leadership practices into actual behaviors are not the same. Senior pastor leadership skills are essential for leading the church. As mentioned in chapter 2, the state of research demonstrates the importance and appropriateness of leadership skills (pp. 109-110).