The following is a dissertation written by an Executive Pastor. To aid in making the information more readable on the web, the footnotes have been removed. To view footnotes, charts, Appendices and the Reference List, please view the PDF found directly beneath the article.

Chapter 1—Research Concern

Leadership and management skills are critical for the pastor to manage even the smallest congregation. Traditionally, administrators, both laymen and professional, have assisted pastors in leading and managing the financial, facility, and related administrative functions in many churches. The growth of a church usually includes an increase in giving, congregants, professional staff members, and lay volunteer ministers. With this growth, the role of the pastor becomes more complex in order to meet not only the spiritual needs of the congregation, but also the strategic, operational, and personnel functions.

Pastors are called upon regularly to preach, visit, counsel, console, and provide spiritual leadership. Pastors are also expected to set the vision for the church, develop the strategy, communicate clearly the purpose and direction of the local congregation, manage and lead change, build and maintain the team of lay leaders, and shepherd people in the church including the ministry staff. He is called on to accomplish this while balancing his spiritual relationship with God and maintaining healthy relationships with his family. The expectation of success in each of these areas by the pastor, the congregation, or his family is unrealistic for most ministers. Some possible causes of these unrealistic expectations of pastors are explained by Nauss in his studies on ministerial effectiveness and ministers as managers.

Through the years, however, at least in America, the parish has changed gradually from the neighborhood church or ethnic conclave to a more actively involved and mission-oriented assembly with members from diverse backgrounds. In the past century the minister has become responsible for additional charges, such as evangelistic work, equipping the members, administering an office or directing a staff, and becoming active in community affairs, all of which can be shown to have some basis in Scripture.

Research Problem

In meeting the challenge of balancing both the managing and the shepherding of the church, a new position entitled executive pastor is evolving. Attempting to review sources on church staff positions, this author found very little research on the executive pastor. There were studies with stated purposes relating to ministers as managers, administration within the church, time-management, and ministerial effectiveness. Few researchers had specifically attempted a diagnosis of the executive pastor.

A library search revealed only one article containing the term executive pastor in the title or subject area. The other available material included a brief description from the Evangelical Dictionary of Christian Education. Leadership Network held a forum in 2001 providing summary information entitled The Executive Pastor Code. Rex Frieze, an organizational consultant and former executive pastor, developed a job description for the executive minister. Defining Moments, an audiotape series from the Willow Creek Association, provided a recorded interview with Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor, and Greg Hawkins, Executive Pastor, of Willow Creek Church in Barrington, Illinois.

This author located two unpublished works on the subject of the executive pastor. The first was “The Role, Relationships and Responsibilities of an Executive Pastor” by Dan Reiland, a church organizational consultant and executive pastor. The second was “Playing Second Fiddle” by Tommy Kiedis, a former executive pastor and at the time of this study, the Dean of the Chapel at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. Both of these articles provided insight into the function of the executive pastor.

While this study attempted to take a descriptive view of the current practices of the executive pastor, completing the process was not the focus. Neither a competency model nor a complete definition was intended. This research continued the process of understanding and defining the role of the executive pastor.

Pastor Training

A study by Larry Purcell observed that there were forty-one forced terminations reported by Southern Baptist Churches in Kentucky in 1999. This number may have been larger as these were only the reported cases. The top five reasons for these forced terminations as reported by the Kentucky Baptist Convention Leadership Development Department were:

  1. Pastor/Staff was too controlling.
  2. The church was resistant to change.
  3. The church was already in conflict when the pastor/staff person arrived.
  4. The pastor/staff person possessed poor people skills.
  5. The pastor/staff person’s leadership style was too strong.

Reviewing these reasons for forced termination pointed to two overarching factors for a disconnection between the pastor and congregation. Either the pastor had poor leadership or influencing skills (numbers 1, 4, and 5) or the pastor had poor change management skills (numbers 2 and 3). Experience and training could have been the two determining factors in assisting these pastors to hold their positions and grow healthy churches. An additional reason for termination may have been the lack of time to practice these critical areas of leadership and management of the church. Obviously, these men may not have been called to the ministry or had other issues, but the end result remained the same. These pastors lacked either leadership and management gifts or they failed to employ the skills they possessed due to an unknown limiting factor.

Academics over Practice

One solution may be to view critically the education pastors received prior to service in the local church. The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust Review of Graduate Theological Education provided some critical insight into the importance of leadership and management training for church leaders. The first area of concern raised by this review as related to leadership and management training was that seminaries focused more on academics than on the practice of the ministry. While some denominations and seminaries may be practicing a more balanced approach, this study covered seminaries in general. As cited in the overview by Gary Grieg of the Review of Graduate Education in the Pacific Northwest, the Murdock Review Program Officer John Woodyard stated:

Seminaries … give their graduates skills to study the Bible and theology but not skills to lead the modern church. The seminaries … continue to emphasize academics. Pastors believe seminary professors do not understand their need for ministry skills or mentors. Professors often view pastors and the church as ‘anti-intellectual.’ Seminaries often turn a deaf ear to the needs of the local church and arrogantly defend scholarly education.

Seminaries should not lower their academic standards. They should continue to focus on both quality academic education and practical training. In the same article, Kenneth Meyers, President of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School at the time of the study, stated:

The curriculum has called for professionals of the academy rather than professionals of the church. The truth is, students will model their professors. In our

[seminary] some 75% of faculty have never pastored a church longer than an intern[ship] during graduate studies. Is it no wonder that graduates come out “heady” and lacking ministry skills?

The challenge faced by seminaries is how to provide quality theological education and leadership training in the two or three years of full-time study required in their curriculum.

Skill Priority

Additional evidence supporting the argument for more leadership and management training came from a review of ministry priorities as stated by lay people, pastors, and seminary professors. The 1994 Murdock Trust study revealed eight areas of priority.

  1. Character
  2. Communication skills
  3. Counseling skills
  4. Leadership skills
  5. Management abilities
  6. Relational skills
  7. Spirituality
  8. Theological knowledge

Eight hundred lay people, pastors, and professors were surveyed revealing different priorities for each area. Lay people listed the priorities in this order: spirituality, relational skills, character, communication skills, and finally theological knowledge. The pastors’ priorities were relational skills, management abilities, communication skills, spirituality, and finally theological knowledge. The professors’ priorities listed theological knowledge first followed by character, leadership skills, communication skills, and then counseling skills. While many of the priorities were the same in the top five, the practitioners looked to leadership and management attributes over theological knowledge. Regardless, leadership skills, management abilities, relational skills, and communication skills were cited as critical across the board.

Some pastors have the spiritual gifts and skills necessary to lead and administer. The pastor who does not possess these gifts needs familiarity with leadership and management principles in order to gather around him others in the congregation who have these gifts. Malloy and Smith stated that one of the imperatives of an equipping church is to equip people to use their gifts in service. “The role of leaders in the church community is to equip others to use their gifts so that everyone can grow”

The Minister’s Dilemma

The debate over the seminary curriculum will continue. The question at hand may not be one of education and training alone. Using the same skills in one situation may be a cause of failure in another setting.

Early in their careers, pastors serve as the entire church staff: Pastor, secretary, education director, worship leader, youth leader and perhaps janitor. Later through promotions and moves, the minister will likely have a staff to manage the various functions of ministry. This is often a difficult transition. The pastor, who has previously been rewarded for effectively performing all the staff functions, must now delegate and manage these functions.

The core issue may be more related to the complexity of the organization and unrealistic expectations placed on pastors. Seminaries must continue to spend a large amount of time teaching their students church history, ancient languages, theology, and how to communicate truth. This is foundational understanding for a minister and should not be discounted.

George Barna observed, “I have witnessed pastor after pastor extensively trained to exegete the Scriptures, and gifted to communicate God’s truth, undeniably fail when it comes to guiding the body of believers.” The average size church in America is approximately one hundred people. Typically a pastor-shepherd can minister to these people without having to employ leadership or management principles beyond himself. The issues arise when churches stagnate or decline and the congregation begins to get uncomfortable with the church and the pastor. Pastors and staff members must have skills to lead their congregations through troubled times and times of change and growth.

The balance of the practices necessary for adequate pastoral leadership and church management is a topic of long-term research. As early as 1956, Samuel Blizzard provided research on the activities occupying pastors’ time. This research asked 690 pastors to evaluate six roles of the pastor on three aspects. The roles determined were pastor, preacher, priest, teacher, organizer, and administrator. The three aspects rated were effectiveness, enjoyment, and importance. Information on time spent in each role was also collected. From a practitioner’s perspective, one may deduce that a pastor in this study spent the most time on administrative activities that he least enjoyed, felt were least important, and in which he believed himself to be least effective.

Table 1. Relationship between minister’s time, effectiveness, enjoyment, and importance in pastoral roles N = 690

Rating*

Role

Time

Effectiveness

Enjoyment

Importance

Administrator

1

5

6

6

Pastor

2

2

1

2

Preacher

3

1

2

1

Priest

4

4

4

3

Organizer

5

6

5

5

Teacher

6

3

3

4

*Rating scale: 1 = most, 6 = least.

The biblical mandate for the pastor is clear. He is to be above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6-7) and the husband of one wife (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6). The book of Timothy instructs that a pastor must be temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, gentle, uncontentious, free from the love of money, able to manage his own household well, not a new convert, and enjoying a good reputation with those outside the church (1 Tim. 3:2-7). While the role in Scripture is clear, the expectations of both pastors and congregations are not aligned at times. The ways in which pastors practice their ministry are more subjective. Very few men are able to excel at every skill required for the important role of leading a local church.

The Need for Clarity

The executive pastor is a new phenomenon in many churches of varying sizes across the United States. This function is a pastoral role that is focused primarily on the development and maintenance of the staff and the church organization. While there were examples of the existence of the executive pastor, there appeared to be little consistency in understanding the role, the specifications, and the definition of the position. Some considered the executive pastor to be the church administrator, while others understood this position to be an extension of the role of the minister of education. One may conclude that this position is similar to the chief operating officer (COO) in for-profit or not-for-profit organizations. Still others stated that the COO model is not as accurate as referring to the executive pastor as the chief of staff.

Bringing clarity and understanding to the necessary leadership and management practices common to executive pastors lays the groundwork for developing the next generation of executive pastors and supporting those currently in place. Additionally, clarity of the position may assist churches in determining the appropriateness for their particular situation. The existing articles provided a basic understanding of the executive pastor. Additional research was needed to qualify the definitions provided thus far.

Research Purpose

Leadership and management competencies, abilities or practices have been identified by for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. There were also identified competencies in the fields of theology and Christian education that were cited as important to pastors. This qualitative, descriptive research study was intended to observe this new phenomenon by identifying the executive pastor’s self-perception of the leadership and management competencies important to this position. Demographic data, including professional experience, was studied to identify relationships between the executive pastor’s response and his background.

The fifty competencies identified in a 1988 study of pastoral managerial competencies by Stephen A. Boersma were foundational to this study. This research compared and contrasted the findings of this study with the Boersma findings. The result of this study provides insight into which practices the executive pastors in the population utilize on the job. This study may also provide a process to study required leadership and management practices in other ministry positions. This research may be valuable to institutions focused on training and developing church leaders.

Delimitations of the Study

The focus of this study sought to gain an understanding of the competencies of executive pastors, while moving toward a definition of the position. There were intentional limitations in the scope of the research design and the subsequent limitations as to how the findings could be generalized. Geographic, denominational, and organizational limitations had an effect upon the generalizations of the findings of this study.

  1. This study was limited to churches in the United States.
  2. This study was limited to churches that are part of the Southern Baptist Convention.
  3. This study was limited to churches with an individual functioning as executive pastor.
  4. This study was limited to individuals who are members of the Mega-Metro Executive Pastors’ Conference.

Research Questions

The following questions were used to guide this study:

  1. What are the similarities and differences of the demographic characteristics such as age, race, gender, professional training, years in ministry, professional background, or church size within the population of the executive pastors?
  2. What is the rank order and relative agreement of the perceived competency importance reported by the executive pastors?
  3. How do the mean rank order results of the Boersma study of pastoral management competencies compare and contrast to the mean rank order of the executive pastors?
  4. What are the identifiable characteristics, such as age, race, gender, professional training, years in ministry, professional background, or church size that are associated with the importance rating of the competencies?
  5. What is the relationship between the self-reported job satisfaction, performance, and preparation ratings of the executive pastors?

Terminology

For the purpose of this study the following definitions were provided:

Administration. This function is set apart from leadership and management on some occasions. Administration can be defined as managing the details of executive affairs. This term can also be defined as, “The management of projects, supervision of others, and implementing of policies. Administration is different from leadership in that administration executes policy rather than creating it.”

Administrative staff. This staff group consists of the people, paid or unpaid, within a local church who are responsible for the day-to-day detailed operations. While administrative tasks can be delineated from leadership and ministry tasks, this position is critical and required for smooth ministry operation.

Business administrator. The person who holds this position concentrates his efforts on managing the finances, facilities, and support staff of the church. This position usually reports to the executive pastor. When referring to the difference between the executive pastor and the business administrator, Reiland posited, “The two are very different positions, correctly staffed by two very different persons.”

In a telephone interview with John Russell, the president of the Mega-Metro Executive Pastors’ Conference at the time of this study, related this perspective on the function of the business administrator: “I always view the business administrator’s role in terms of three Fs: finances, facilities, and food.” Webber referred to six areas that were supported by the National Association of Church Business Administrators (NACBA). “We can identify six basic areas of responsibility of a church business administrator: finance, data processing, personnel, physical plant, strategic planning, and church protocol.”

Competencies. Competencies by some were defined as abilities. One could say that competence equals ability. Hersey, Blanchard, and Johnson extended this definition of ability by showing the components of ability as knowledge, skill, and experience. “Knowledge is demonstrated understanding of a task, skill is demonstrated proficiency and experience is demonstrated ability gained from performing a task.”

A more technical definition showing a relationship to predetermined criteria was “An underlying characteristic of an individual that is causally related to criterion referenced effective [and or] superior performance in a job or situation.” Competency analysis is conducted against a criterion reference rather than a comparative analysis. The objective is to understand what competencies are necessary for a job or role. Regardless of the environment for which leadership and management competencies are defined, they may be important for use in the local church.

Factor. In the Boersma survey instrument, the fifty competencies were delineated into three competency or skill groupings. These sub-grouping were related to pathfinding skills, interpersonal skills, and implementation and decision making skills.

Item. In the Boersma survey instrument, this term represents the individual competencies that were rated by the executive pastors.

Leadership. This author defines leadership as the art of painting a vision, creating a path, gathering the resources, guiding people to new places, and creating growth in the individual and organization, while understanding and valuing the past, the culture, and the people. From a spiritual perspective, the definition should also include the concepts of calling, vision from God, and leading others in their Christian life. Means continued developing the idea of the definition of leadership by stating the following:

Spiritual leadership is the development of relationships with the people of a Christian institution or body in such a way that individuals and the group are enabled to formulate and achieve Biblically compatible goals that meet real needs. By their ethical influence, spiritual leaders serve to motivate and enable others to achieve what otherwise would never be achieved.

Gangel identified Christian leadership as “The exercise of one’s spiritual gifts under the call of God to serve a certain group of people in achieving the goals God has given them toward the end of glorifying Christ.” Robert Clinton defined leadership as “A dynamic process in which a man or woman with God-given capacities influences a specific group of God’s people toward His purposes for the group.”

John Maxwell provided the most basic definition of leadership: “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” Daniel Katz and Robert Kahn provided a more industrial definition: “Leadership is the influential increment over and above mechanical compliance with the routine directives of the organization.”

These definitions of leadership give boundaries to leadership practices. Leadership is different from management or even administration. Leadership and management must coexist, as neither is truly possible without the other. Leadership focuses on doing the right things, while management focuses on doing things right. Administration can be defined as the processes and procedures that support the leadership and management function. The ultimate goal of those in authority is to do the right things right.

Management. This discipline is related to planning, organizing, staffing, directing, controlling, and measuring functions of the organization. Management is different from leadership or even administration. Leadership and management must coexist, as neither is truly possible without the other. Leadership focuses on doing the right things, while management focuses on doing things right. Administration can be defined as the processes and procedures that support the leadership and management function. The ultimate goal of those in authority is to do the right things right.

Mega-Metro Executive Pastors’ Conference. The Mega-Metro Executive Pastors’ Conference (MMEPC) limits participation in this organization to those individuals who are functioning as an executive pastor or acting in a “chief of ministry” role. Occasionally, the minister of education, senior associate pastor or director of ministries acts in a role similar to the executive pastor. The group focuses primarily on churches that are Southern Baptist. While membership criteria do not preclude someone in a church other than Southern Baptist to participate, the vast majority of participants are from SBC churches.

The specific criterion for membership is for individuals and churches to meet four out of six of the following criteria:

  1. The worship attendance must have an annual average of three thousand or more.
  2. The Sunday School attendance must have an annual average of two thousand or more.
  3. The annual budget must be at least $4 million.
  4. There must be at least ten full-time equivalent professional ministry staff positions.
  5. The executive pastor or similar function must report directly to the senior pastor.
  6. The executive pastor or similar function must supervise the pastoral staff.

Ministry staff. While pastors are responsible for leading the overall organization, the idea that others are not leaders is incorrect. Anyone holding a position of authority in the local church, even lay leaders, is responsible for leadership results.

Though God calls every Christian into some form of ministry, He has not called everyone to leadership. The New Testament clearly differentiates between saints (church members) in general, and leaders in particular (Acts 15:22; 1 Thes. 5:12-13; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Heb. 13:7, 17; 1 Pet. 5:1-5).

Leadership is not limited to the pastor alone. Each person on the ministry staff has a responsibility of leadership to those who are following him. This includes ministry area department heads, volunteer positions, and those in other ministry roles responsible for leading the implementation of ministry programming within the church.

Operational Pathfinding. In the Boersma survey instrument, this is a sub-factor (1b) of competency factor 1, Pathfinding Skills. Skills in this sub-factor relate to developing performance standards, developing and maintaining job descriptions, planning and conducting staff evaluations, building and maintaining the organizational chart, conducting program evaluations, and collecting, analyzing, and reporting performance data.

Practices. Webster’s New College Dictionary defined practice as “The repeated mental or physical action for the purpose of learning or acquiring proficiency.” Skill proficiency is acquired through repetition. Some have referred to leadership as an art. Others considered leadership and management a science. This author agrees with those who acquiesce that leadership and management are both art and science. Individuals in leadership positions are practicing while carrying out these acquired skills and abilities on a regular basis. Thus the term practice is appropriate as this term indicates that proficiency in leadership and management is a process rather than a destination.

Senior Pastor. The senior pastor is the executive leader in a local church with the overall responsibility for worship, discipleship, and evangelism within the local church. This person may not be directly responsible for the implementation of programming in each of these areas, but this individual is responsible for understanding the mission, setting the vision, and beginning the strategy process for carrying out the mission.

This position is distinguished from the pastors responsible for education, music, student, or church administrative responsibilities. The pastor may be considered the secular business equivalent of the chief executive officer. While the CEO metaphor breaks down quickly, the pastor is the person responsible for the overall stewardship of the local church. The senior pastor is also the lead shepherd and equipper of the people and the staff in the church. The term senior pastor has been used to denote leadership within a multiple staff team. The appearance of this title does not necessarily designate multiple staff, as a senior pastor may be the only staff member employed in a local church.

Servant Leadership. Servant leadership is best defined as a worldview or attitude of leading others from a perspective of placing the organizational purpose, the needs of the organization, and the needs of people over the needs and desires of the leader.

Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). This Christian denomination maintains no central church authority over local churches within the organization. The idea of the SBC is a group of cooperating churches with a similar mission. The SBC defined itself in the following way on its organizational website:

The term ‘Southern Baptist Convention’ refers to both the denomination and its annual meeting. Working through 1,200 local associations and 41 state conventions and fellowships, Southern Baptists share a common bond of basic Biblical beliefs and a commitment to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world.

Cooperation in the SBC comes through support and annual giving to the Cooperative Program. Most Southern Baptist churches give a percentage of their total receipts to the SBC Cooperative Program.

Strategic Pathfinding Skills. In the Boersma survey instrument, this is a sub-factor (1a) of competency factor 1, Pathfinding Skills. Skills in this sub-factor relate to strategic planning, mission and values creation, goals and objectives development, developing and maintaining a staffing plan, and developing and maintaining a goals and objectives measurement systems.

Sub-factor. In the Boersma study, this is a delineation of the higher level factors of pathfinding skills, interpersonal skills, and implementation and decision making skills. The pathfinding skills factor has two sub-factors, strategic pathfinding and operational pathfinding. The interpersonal skills factor has no sub-factor. The implementation and decision making skills factor has three sub-factors, staffing, directing and controlling.

Procedural Overview

Through a precedent literature research of church related leadership and management practices, a competency evaluation instrument was discovered. This instrument entitled “Pastoral Management Competencies Questionnaire” was developed by Stephen A. Boersma as part of his Ph.D. dissertation research at Oregon State University in 1988. This instrument was chosen as applicable to this research effort.

The title of Boersma’s survey suggests that the instrument only evaluates management competencies. The appropriateness of using this survey for leadership and management was revealed through a brief analysis of Boersma’s research. Boersma explored management competencies and organized the data using the Management Process Model developed by Alec Mackenzie 1969. The Mackenzie model includes administration and leadership as tasks within the management process. Leadership and management as functions are intertwined. It has been determined by this author that the resulting list of competencies spans appropriately the disciplines of both leadership and management.

Boersma used a well-defined process to develop the survey instrument. Eighty-two leadership and management competencies were developed by reviewing related literature and screening those skills and observable behaviors that apply to the church context. The survey was validated using a Delphi panel composed of professionals, pastors, and educators in the field of church management. The panel consisted of three senior pastors, two executives from international Christian organizations, two seminary professors responsible for ministerial studies, two ministers with extensive research and publishing in church management, and one seminary executive responsible for continuing education in the area of organizational development. Each panel member was asked to review the list of competencies for their usefulness and to list any recommendations or suggestions for the survey. In the process, the eighty-two competencies were reduced to fifty, with six new items included that were not on the original list. The questionnaire was considered to represent a relatively thorough range of pastoral competencies. Reliability for the instrument was established according to the analysis of variance method suggested by Hoyt and Stunkard. This produced a reliability of +.94 for the questionnaire.

The survey for this study was structured to gain a wide range of demographic information describing the subject and the organization. The data collected included age, race, gender, professional experience, and education background. Organizational information included the number of adults, teenagers, and children who attend on average the weekly worship services, the average weekly Sunday school attendance, the annual church budget, the number of full-time equivalent ministry staff positions, and the organizational structure. Two questions on personal preference regarding the position were also included. The last section of the demographic survey included three questions related to job satisfaction, performance, and preparation in the position of executive pastor. All information gathered through this survey was self-reported by the executive pastor.

The survey instrument and the demographic questionnaire were field-tested to determine the ease of use and how well each question was understood by the participant. Subjects outside of the population were used. These were individuals holding the title executive pastor in churches of similar size to the population, but outside the SBC or the MMEPC. These individuals were enlisted, as their position and organizations were more closely related to those of the population of this study. Edits were made as appropriate to the demographic survey and the process. The Boersma survey was not edited. The instrument was delivered via mail to the sample population, completed, and returned. The data was studied and analyzed according to the research purpose and related research questions. The findings are reported in Chapter 4.

Research Assumptions

While there may be variations in the activities and role of the executive pastor within various churches, the leadership and management competencies that were studied are important to the church itself. Even if a church does not employ an executive pastor, these competencies may still be appropriate and present in the local church. Studying leadership and management practices and competencies for the executive pastor may reveal certain tasks that are underutilized within the local church.

Scripture teaches that certain individuals are set apart for ministry leadership (1 Tim. 3:1-7). This is true of the senior pastor and it is also true for the executive pastor. Anyone who serves in a leadership position within the church must be called by God, as the church is the bride of Jesus Christ. Leadership, management, and administration are ultimately stewardship functions of the church. While these duties may not appear to be spiritual leadership activities, Scripture affirms this form of service and ministry for Christ (1 Cor. 12:27-28; Eph. 4:11-12). Stewardship can be defined as the caring of someone else’s property with the expectation that the owner will one day return. The church belongs to God. The pastor, executive pastor, and any others in leadership positions are responsible for the caring and growing of the church until Christ’s return.

While some people may be called to specific leadership positions within the church, all Christians are called to serve. Some believe that leaders are born. An assumption by this author is that leadership can be taught. Since spiritual growth is the responsibility of all Christians, growth in the area of leadership and management should also be expected within the church. People can learn. People within the church can benefit from leadership and management skills development.

Chapter 2—Precedent Literature

The literature review provides a theological and philosophical foundation for leadership and management. Laying the foundation for the practices that an executive pastor may undertake is the purpose of this section. A review of servant leadership as the biblical foundation for leadership is undertaken initially. A study of secular leadership models appropriate for church administration is provided. This includes definitions of leadership, management, and administration. An additional section on the research findings of ministerial effectiveness and the minister as manager provide insight into the tasks necessary for the minister. Finally, the available research on the role of the executive pastor is analyzed to reveal the practices posited in current literature.

A Theology of Servant Leadership

Many people and organizations define leadership differently. These differences are as varied as the particular circumstances that drive the need to study, analyze, and define leadership. When examining leadership, many various sources for insight are considered. In the Christian community, Scripture is the primary source for discovering a true understanding of leadership. This section is an attempt to uncover some of the major insights Scripture provides about leadership, particularly leaders as servants. Developing a biblical theology of servant leadership will accomplish this task.

The focus of this section is on the New Testament. The assumption is that leaders in the church, especially the executive pastor, will practice leadership and management principles to grow the local church. While there are excellent examples of leadership from the Old Testament, the New Testament in this case provides the most applicable background. Old Testament teaching on leadership and management is applicable, but has been purposely excluded. The leadership principles of Christ and the examples of leadership within the early church provide an essential foundation for understanding the needed competencies of contemporary church managerial leaders.

Terms Defined

To build a biblical theology of servant leadership, one must define biblical theology, leadership, and servant leadership. An assessment of the biblical concepts and principles that define leadership is also required. These components exist within the text of this section. The results of the final analysis is a list of the important biblical principles uncovered during research. Significant New Testament personalities and events are examined and major concepts are discussed in order to build a framework for understanding biblical servant leadership.

Biblical Theology Defined

Several sources have been cited here to assist in building a workable definition of biblical theology and a process for studying servant leadership in the New Testament. One expanded definition of biblical theology is found in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Biblical theology seems best defined as the doctrine of biblical religion. As such, it works upon the material contained in the Old Testament and the New Testament as the product of exegetical study. This is the modern technical sense of the term, whereby it signifies a systematic representation of biblical religion in its primitive form. Biblical theology has sometimes been taken to signify not only the science of the doctrinal declarations of the Scriptures, but the whole group of sciences concerned with the interpretation and exposition of the Scriptures. In that wider view of biblical theology, the term exegetical theology has been used to define and include the group of sciences already referred to. But the whole weight of preference seems, in our view, to belong to the narrower use of the term biblical theology, as more strictly scientific.

Millard Erickson simplifies this definition of biblical theology as the theological content of the Old and New Testaments, or the theology found within the biblical books. Ryrie not only provides an excellent working definition but also assists in creating a framework for studying leadership in the Bible. Ryrie states, “Biblical theology deals systematically with the historically conditioned progress of the self-revelation of God in the Bible.” The process and format of this section follows the revelation of God’s Word as it relates to servant leadership in the New Testament. Kenneth Gangel validates this approach by stating:

These paragraphs make no attempt at either a systematic theology of leadership or a biblical exegesis of leadership. What follows takes the outline of a ‘biblical theology’ defined by Ryrie as ‘that branch of theological science which deals systematically with the historically conditioned progress of the self revelation of God as deposited in the Bible.’ This essay therefore seeks some systematic overview of the progressive revelation of God regarding how He considers leadership to be practiced and taught among His people on earth.

Utilizing Ryrie’s definition and application of biblical theology and Gangel’s framework for servant leadership as it is defined within the progression of God’s revelation, provides an adequate form for this study.

Leadership Defined

Leadership must also be defined in terms of servant leadership. There have been many attempts at corralling leadership ideas into a single definition. It is not presupposed here that this author has accomplished the task while so many others have struggled. A personal definition of leadership should include the basic components of leadership. As stated previously, this author’s attempt to define leadership is the art of painting a vision, creating a path, gathering the resources, guiding people to new places, and creating growth in the individual and organization, while understanding and valuing the past, the culture, and the people.

From a spiritual perspective, the definition should also include the concepts of calling, vision from God, and leading others in their Christian life. As foundational to a New Testament understanding of leadership, Means continues developing the definition of leadership by stating the following:

Spiritual leadership is the development of relationships with the people of a Christian institution or body in such a way that individuals and the group are enabled to formulate and achieve biblically compatible goals that meet real needs. By their ethical influence, spiritual leaders serve to motivate and enable others to achieve what otherwise would never be achieved.

Gangel adds to the definition by identifying Christian leadership as “The exercise of one’s spiritual gifts under the call of God to serve a certain group of people in achieving the goals God has given them toward the end of glorifying Christ.” While Robert Clinton defines leadership as “A dynamic process in which a man or woman with God-given capacities influences a specific group of God’s people toward his purposes for the group.”

John Maxwell provides the most basic definition of leadership: “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” Daniel Katz and Robert Kahn provide a more industrial definition: “Leadership is the influential increment over and above mechanical compliance with the routine directives of the organization.”

These definitions of leadership give boundaries to leadership practices. Leadership is different from management or even administration. Leadership and management must coexist, as neither is truly possible without the other. Leadership focuses on doing the right things, while management focuses on doing things right. Administration can be defined as the processes and procedures that support the leadership and management process. The ultimate goal of those in authority is to do the right things right.

One way to look at this is that leadership without management will lead to frustration while management without leadership will lead to oppression. The competencies mentioned here are related to leadership, but have application to management and administrative practices that assist the organization to operate. The assumption that proper leadership models are appropriate for the church may be extended to management and administration, but that is not within the scope of this section.

Servant Leadership Defined

Servant leadership is another term that must be clear before proceeding with the foundational survey. There have been attempts to explain servant leadership. Just as there is much difficulty and confusion in delineating between management and leadership, understanding the relationship of servant leadership to leadership in general is also a problem. Some see servant leadership as a style of leadership. Servant leadership is best defined as a worldview or attitude of leading others from a perspective of placing the organizational purpose, the needs of the organization, and the needs of people over the needs and desires of the leader.</