Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Jackie Halstead

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Ben Ries

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

BJ McMichael


The role of a clergyperson is often understood as one that creates a connection between the human and the divine, faith and God. However, such a vast role is typically executed in specific ways, such as leading Bible studies, visiting the sick, leading worship, and the act of preaching. At times, such a role demands even more nuanced behaviors based upon the context, population, and time. As this study posited, the problem is that such a multiplicity of clergy expectations inevitably create role stress, as understood through the constructs of role ambiguity and role conflict. In particular, how one might best define role stress as it is experienced by rural, Original Free Will Baptist clergy was previously unknown. Therefore, this study’s purpose was to define role stress and its emotional outcomes based upon first-hand experiences by the Original Free Will Baptist clergy population. Research was conducted through an interpretative phenomenological analysis, which identified and interviewed nine Original Free Will Baptist clergy in a semistructured interview format. Data were gathered through semistructured interviews and memos and analyzed through a coding process. Emerging themes attested to the complicated nature of rurality and the role stress experienced, the perception of clergy as hired help, a tenure and age connection to negative emotional outcomes, and the physiological experience of role stress. Findings also suggested that professional development and self-awareness may be key in helping to limit role stress and its consequences. Furthermore, it is suggested that Original Free Will Baptist leadership and congregations be made aware of these findings, as the findings may give the opportunity for more targeted intervention strategies.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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