Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

BJ McMichael

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Ben Reis

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

George Hillman


This qualitative phenomenological single case study sought to understand potential influence of well-being and resilience of ministry leaders where an unplanned leadership transition had occurred. With an interest in personal well-being of ministry leaders, the researcher was curious how those who remained on church staff endured a 2-year period between the departure of one senior pastor and the hiring of a new senior pastor. Much of the existing research on church leadership transitions focused on the negative factors associated with failures. Generally, there is a lack of understanding of the positive influences of well-being and resiliency. The researcher sought to understand the potential influence of well-being and resilience on ministry leaders after an unplanned leadership transition had occurred. Actionable research with qualitative interview techniques provided for both inductive and deductive gathering of data. It was inductive in that it collected verbatim responses in an open-ended format, and it was deductive because it presented existing parameters for responses within the characteristics of well-being and traits of resiliency. As a qualitative study, interview questions focused on capturing the narratives that told a story, an individual story overlaid with other individual stories. Each respondent had an individualized, unique lived experience of the time under study. Purposive sampling, also known as judgment sampling, was chosen to better match the sample to the aims and objectives of the research. The sample was limited to those individuals on staff during the transition who were in positions of influence and represented each of the three areas of leadership in the church: elders, pastors, and support staff. This representation produced a total participant pool of 25 respondents. Structured interviews allowed for the same questions to be asked but with an array of responses gleaned. Interviews allowed for enabling techniques using word prompts directly linked to the study’s two research questions. Content coding of individual interviews utilized in vivo coding and values coding. Ten themes emerged from the data: one theme of leadership issues with four subthemes noted, five themes specific to well-being, and four relevant to resilience. Among all 25 respondents, overall well-being was 69% and resiliency was 79%.

Keywords: well-being, resiliency, pastors, church, ministry, leadership

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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