Challenges of Pastoral Leaders: Maintaining Resilience While Contemplating Transitioning out of Ministry
Dallas Campus (Online)
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Committee Chair or Primary Advisor
Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
B. J. McMichael
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
This study was based upon 40 years of observation of pastoral leaders who faced challenges that tested their resilience to remain in or transition out of full-time ministry. Those who were fortunate to navigate their way through these challenges were resilient in ministry or were able to move forward by becoming bivocational. Some went back to school and got secular degrees and sought jobs outside of their calling. While facing career identity challenges, pastors feared their ministerial skills were less viable in a secular context and were reluctant to make a transition. This study aimed to understand their resilience while having few alternatives regarding their gifts outside of their calling. The conceptual framework used for this study was role theory. The research was a qualitative case study that consisted of the interview. The study’s data collection consisted of interviews conducted using a phone and an MP3 digital voice recorder and then transferred to a laptop computer. The sample included African American ministers of Churches of Christ affiliated with the Florida State and Southeastern Regional Lectureships, whose focus was leadership development and church growth learning opportunities. The researcher used an open coding system and a thematic analysis in the study’s research procedure. Through the study, the researcher uncovered concerns about the lack of leadership and identified a lack of respect for ministers, which revealed a significant challenge to ministry resilience. There was a realized deficiency in role recognition and pastoral support. Each minister emphasized the importance of leadership development as essential to ministry to prevent hardship and create competence within the church. The ministers stated a deficiency in resolving conflict; they recognized and expressed the lack of support and the significance of spiritual support needed to sustain them in ministry. They described experiencing a crippling effect on making progress as a leader. There was disparity when comparing the church leaders’ salaries to secular leaders. Finally, the study demonstrated a need for comprehensive help for those ministers struggling with the desire to seek secular careers or remain in full-time ministry.
Keywords: burnout, calling, pastoral resilience, role conflict, role theory, self-care, support groups or system, transition, well-being
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Griffin, Benjamin A., "Challenges of Pastoral Leaders: Maintaining Resilience While Contemplating Transitioning out of Ministry" (2021). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 379.