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Leadership development and clergy: understanding the events and lessons that shape pastoral leaders.

While much work has been done in understanding the developmental journey of leaders in secular organizations, there is limited empirical research investigating the key experiences in the pastoral leader's journey and the associated lessons emerging from these events. One hundred pastors were interviewed about the key events in their development as leaders. Content analysis was used to develop detailed taxonomies of the key developmental events in their careers and of the lessons that emerged from each of these events. The results indicated that, consistent with past research on business leaders, the preponderance of developmental experiences occurred in-the-trenches (32%), during times of significant transition (27%), or in personal relationships (23%), indicating that pastors develop as they are doing their work and leading on the edge of their comfort zones. Results also indicated that events were tied to predictable sets of lessons. Implications for pastors, denominational leadership, and seminaries are discussed.


Studies over the last two decades have indicated that most business leadership development happens as leaders are doing their work and facing the trial-by-fire challenges that come with the job of the leader (McCall, Lombardo & Morrison, 1988; McCall, 1998; Robinson & Wick, 1992). The most significant experiences tend to be events that put the leaders under pressure and adversity, while also providing some of the most salient developmental lessons of their careers (McCauley, Ruderman, Ohlott, & Morrow, 1994; McKenna & Yost, 2004). However, a closer look at the leadership development programs operating in organizations around the country shows that, despite this evidence, companies continue to rely on and heavily invest in traditional training programs (Sugrue & Rivera, 2005). (1) This is not to say that all leadership training programs are misdirected, but it does highlight how little is currently known about how to effectively and deliberately use on-the-job experiences as developmental turning points for leaders.

Currently, even less is known about how pastoral leaders develop and the types of lessons that emerge from significant pastoral leadership experiences. Like businesses, churches tend to rely on initial formal training to provide the primary development for pastors. Once pastors are in charge of a church, relatively few ongoing programs exist to support their continued development. Little is known about the continuing development of pastors as they move through different developmental stages as leaders.

Pastoral research has tended to focus on other topics, like the outcomes of leadership development (e.g., Fishburn & Hamilton, 1989; Nauss, 1994, 1995). For example, a significant amount of research has addressed the topic of pastoral effectiveness with the goal of identifying the dimensions of effective pastoral leadership. This research sought to uncover congregational expectations for pastors (Lichtman & Malony, 1990), measures of pastoral effectiveness (Lewis, 1992; Nauss, 1994), critical leadership behaviors (Nauss, 1989), and pastoral resilience (Meek et al., 2003). While some research has investigated the predictors of pastoral effectiveness and the competencies necessary to lead effectively in a large church setting (McKenna, 2005), there is very little known about how these competencies are developed and what causes some pastors to learn while others do not.

The job of a senior pastor can be very challenging (Hall, 1997; Kuhne & Donaldson, 1995; Meek et al., 2003). Pastors face extreme work pressure because of the daily confrontations with not only personal and personnel problems, but also the confrontations in the church and the emotional reality of the suffering and even death of others around them. Compared with other human service professionals, pastors experiencing these high work pressures also score significantly higher on burnout, including emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment (Evers & Tomic, 2003). The researchers suggested that this propensity toward burnout may be driven by the extreme pressures of pastoral work, limited social and peer support for some pastors, and the ambiguity inherent in the role of the pastor.

On top of this, the pastor's job is not static. Pastors are expected to perform a wide variety of tasks (Kuhne & Donaldson, 1995), and their effectiveness is evaluated according to how well they deal with this broad range of responsibilities. Ministers must be able to use a wide variety of leadership skills across multiple functions in a variety of contexts (Nauss, 1994, 1995). Lichtman and Malony (1990) use the word "generalist" when describing the ideal ministerial style, also concluding that pastors need to be "flexible" and "participative" to be most effective for the church. Fishburn and Hamilton (1989) concluded that effective ministers are willing to seek help in areas where they require additional skill or knowledge. In other words, they are expected to develop their skills in demonstrable ways over time.

For pastors, leadership may not be captured in either doing what is right or doing the right thing, but may be more effectively captured in significant life events that have impacted not only their leadership, but their overall character, vocation, and sense of identity. Christopherson (1994) describes this as a blending of "the language of accomplishment with the language of ascription, obligation, and service." It is simply not enough to talk about the pastoral leadership journey as a set of accomplishments or effectiveness measures, but instead the discussion must start with what Goldman (1991) described as a self transformed into "a transparent medium for Godly action." This transcending purpose, shaped by the personal and leadership events that define pastors and their leadership, may be the place where pastors begin and end each day when it comes to effectiveness.

The combination of this research suggests that it would be useful to better understand how pastors develop over time to become more effective. Furthermore, the unique challenges faced by a pastoral leader suggest that the key events in the pastoral journey may differ from the events in a business leader's journey. The reality is that pastors may not face the challenge of leadership effectiveness in the same way as other leaders. This study is an attempt to understand the unique nature of the pastoral journey, and the lessons that emerge as most critical in pastors' growth. Based on an analysis of the literature and the opportunity to better understand the pastoral journey, this study set out to test the following propositions: (1) The events that pastors describe as critical to their development are identifiable and commonly shared; (2) The key lessons that pastors learn from these events are identifiable and commonly shared; and (3) For each event, a predictable set of lessons emerges.



The participants in this study were 100 senior pastors. Because the study was exploratory, a convenience sample was used with the goal of identifying pastors from a wide variety of denominations and church sizes. Only the highest ranking pastor of each church was eligible for participation in this study. The majority of pastors were identified through personal connections by members of the research team, with additional contacts coming from published denominational lists of senior pastors of large congregations. The most heavily represented denominations were Presbyterian (24%), non-denominational (13%), Southern Baptist (12%), and Free Methodist (12%). In the sample, 89% were male, and 11% were female pastors. The mean age of the pastors was 52 years; the youngest was 28 and the oldest was 75. Church sizes varied widely. The smallest church had 12 members and the largest church had 8500 members with a median church size of 350. On average, the pastors had been in a senior pastoral leadership position for 17 years and in their current positions for 9 years. The budgets in these churches ranged from $0.00 to $14.5 million with a median budget of $410,000.00.

Pastoral Interviews

All pastors participated in a 90-minute confidential interview in which they were asked to reflect on their development as leaders. Pastors were asked the same question used by McCall et al. (1988) in their research on the critical experiences in the development of business executives: "When you think over your career as a leader, certain events or episodes probably stand out in your mind--things that led to a lasting change in your approach to leadership. Please jot down some notes for yourself identifying at least three 'key events' in your career--things that made a difference in the way you lead others." Participants were then asked to expand on their answers with the following probes: (a) What happened? (b) What did you learn from the experience (for better or for worse)? (c) What was it about you that allowed you to grow from this event? and (d) What was it about the situation that allowed (or forced) you to grow from this event? This formed the main portion of the interview. Several additional questions were also included regarding the current leadership challenges the pastors faced, their perceptions and measurement of effectiveness, any advice they had for other leaders, and general background information about their careers.

All of the interviews were conducted either by telephone or in person by the authors or graduate assistants. All interviewers were trained to follow the interview protocol, but were encouraged to ask follow-up questions as needed to clarify participants' responses. To create a climate of openness, the interviewer began the interviews by explaining that all responses would be kept confidential and that any information identifying them individually would not be shared. Furthermore, the pastors' names would not be attached to any part of their response without their explicit permission. Interviews typically lasted the full 90 minutes, the shortest lasting one hour, and others extending up to two hours. Responses were captured as written or typed notes to encourage an atmosphere of openness, and later typed up by the interviewer for analysis.

Taxonomy Development for Events and Lessons

Coders began with the original taxonomy of events and lessons from the research on business leaders (Lindsey, Homes, & McCall, 1987). A content-analysis approach was used to identify common and emerging themes. Six coders independently coded a randomly chosen set of interviews, making note of areas where the taxonomy needed adjustment for the pastoral population. They met to discuss their codes and proposed modifications to create a revised version of the taxonomy with categories and definitions that fit the events and language that the pastors used in their interviews. The coders then coded the events of another group of randomly chosen interviews and assessed their reliability (percent agreement). This process continued until the coders reached a level of at least 70% agreement. Final average inter-rater reliability among coders was 76%. After the taxonomy was developed, a second group of four coders was used to code the additional interviews, after checking for inter-rater reliability. This second group had an average inter-rater reliability of 72%. Any disagreements were resolved through discussion and consensus. The final version of the event taxonomy had 25 categories including the "other" category (See Table 1).

Coders performed a similar procedure with the lessons taxonomy, starting with Lindsey et al.'s (1987) lessons taxonomy for business leaders, coding a randomly selected set of interviews, discussing the results, and modifying the taxonomy. Average inter-rater reliability was 78%. The final version of the lessons taxonomy had 37 categories including the "other" category (See Table 2).

Event & Experience Linkages

Following the coding process, frequency statistics were derived for events and lessons. A matrix of events by lessons was then created as a first step to assess the relationships between the events and the lessons learned. Binomial tests were conducted for each event to explore the relationship of that event to each of the lessons. The binomial test was conducted on each cell in the matrix to determine whether the proportion of the total number of lessons associated with each event was greater than what would be expected by chance. The binomial statistical test was chosen over the other statistical tests (e.g., the chi-square test) because of the small sample size in each of the cells. In the interpretation of binomial results, a significant statistic indicates that the observed proportion of lessons in that cell differed significantly from the expected proportion. The expected proportion for each event was based on the total number of lessons associated with that event and the chance distribution of that total over the possible lesson categories. Because pastors were encouraged to present any lessons that they believed were associated with each event, cell values are independent, meeting the requirement of the binomial test for independence of results.


Key Events

The total number of events recorded across the 100 interviews was 294. The percent of events that fell into each category are included in Table 1. "Setting the stage" events represented 6.7% of the total events. These included early non-church work experiences, the pastor's conversion experience, and his/her call to ministry. For example, one pastor taught swimming lessons with great success, another worked in a mortgage company as a manager, and another described his conversion from Hinduism to Christianity.

"Transitions" were also regularly identified as critical developmental periods for pastors (26.6%). Some of the most critical transitions in a pastor's development include when he/she first became a church staff leader, first became the senior pastor of a church, first had a staff member reporting to him/her, or when a church congregation became so large that the pastor had to delegate more responsibility to others. Other key transitions included changing pastoral positions, being exposed to a much larger scope, experiencing a renewed call, living through a personal trauma, or shepherding others through a trauma (often the first time the pastor experienced these events). Pastors described the death of loved ones, their children coming out as gay or lesbian, serving in Promise Keepers, being exposed to a mega-church, coming to serve a church with a few members and growing it to be multi-staffed, as examples of transitions that impacted their development as leaders.

"Leading in the trenches" experiences represented 32.3% of the events. Like business leaders, many of the critical developmental experiences in pastors' journeys occur when they are facing significant challenges in their ongoing work, especially problems and trials. Some of the most common events fell into this category including failures/mistakes (8.8%) and dealing with problem staff/church members/peers (7.8%). Other events included leadership setbacks and starting something from scratch. Several pastors were asked to leave their churches, and one tried to start a church but it did not work out. Sometimes members of the congregation banded together against the pastor. There were also positive examples of leading in the trenches, such as the pastor who was able to revitalize a dying church that was about to close its doors, and the several pastors who started new churches that grew very quickly.

The category of "When other people matter" included events tied directly to interactions with other people, and encompassed 22.7% of the events. Most significant was the presence of a good role model (10.5%), the most common event named overall. Interestingly, bad role models (2.0%) also played an important role, teaching pastors what not to do and how not to lead others. Seeing values playing out positively or negatively (4.4%) and exposure to those in need (4.1%) also emerged as critical developmental experiences. The somewhat surprising importance of even negative relationships is illustrated in the following example of a bad role model:
I was working as the associate pastor at a church.... The senior pastor
was a master manipulator. He would find out what your weakness was and
try to use it against you. The senior pastor, politically and
strategically, worked for "his benefit" to forward his own agenda. He
had a huge blind spot and could not see how his actions affected
others.... You can learn a lot of good things from a bad experience if
you allow yourself to.... All leaders have their own neuroses and
brokenness. They need to know what this is before they lead.

Similar to business leaders, education and training emerged as a key developmental experience for pastors, representing 8.2% of the events. Pastors noted the importance of professional education (seminary) and seminars they had attended. In these events, pastors often discussed some key truth that they discovered during the educational experience (e.g., the importance of casting a vision for your church) as a catalyst that was then either realized and/or applied several months later in their positions as leaders.

Lessons Learned

A total of 593 lessons were associated with the 294 events. The lesson titles and percentage of lessons that fell into each category are included in Table 2. Results indicate that the lessons tended to fall into six broad categories. In order of frequency these included: Handling relationships (30.2%), personal awareness (14.9%), managerial and organizational thinking (14.5%), values (13.3%), God's role (12.3%), and pastoral temperament (11.8%).

At the individual lesson level, trust in/reliance on God was the single most common lesson learned (8.6%). Defined as "The importance of relying on God through difficult and easy times," this lesson was often identified with the realization that the pastor's leadership, effectiveness, ability to deal with the trauma of others, and daily measure of success had very little do with them, and more to do with God's purpose. Likewise, in this same overall category, pastors also talked about the importance of scripture, and knowing the presence of God. Several pastors expressed feeling unprepared for certain situations like leading a church as a student pastor or handling conflict, and realizing that God could still use them in these situations.

The role of relationships was a central theme. Key experiences in the lives of pastors often taught them lessons regarding developing others (6.7%) and how to deal with conflict (6.2%). As a result of a positive experience encouraging a congregation member to take part in leading worship, one pastor said, "I learned how important it is to affirm people in their gifts and that doing that really does bear fruit." The lessons about dealing with conflict often focused on the simple acknowledgement that problems needed to be confronted and dealt with quickly, but also included lessons about following due process, not relying on one's own wisdom during times of conflict, and actually embracing people with different opinions instead of being intimidated by them or trying to stay away from them.

Building one's values, temperament, and personal awareness were also key areas that were developed during pastors' leadership journeys. In addition to the basic values that business leaders tended to discuss (e.g., integrity, honesty, and respect), pastors called out the importance of humility/brokenness, empathy, patience, the complexity of the human condition, and fostering a less judgmental view of others. These lessons were as simple as learning the patience to introduce change, such as in the frequency of communion, slowly; and as deep as "coming to a deep-seated belief that in brokenness rather than pretended wholeness is where God is."

Likewise, pastors talked about their personal growth including their self-awareness, self-confidence, resilience, recognizing "it's not about me," the courage to be themselves, staying focused on what's really important, seeing themselves as leaders, and being willing to submit to God and others. Many of the pastors gained confidence through surviving difficult experiences, saying that if they could handle a situation as difficult as the one they had been through, they could handle anything. These developmental events pushed pastors to dive into leadership and figure out what it really means. One pastor said, "I learned that you can make some really bad mistakes when you refuse to lead," while another realized, "This is what it [being a leader] means sometimes, to make difficult and hard decisions." The frequency of these types of lessons suggests that pastors are called to acknowledge their brokenness and experience growth, self-understanding, and God's refining grace throughout the journey. One of the clear themes that emerged is that, for pastors, "who you are" is as, if not more important, than "what you do."

Event and Lesson Linkages

Analyses were conducted to assess the relationship between the events and the lesson distributions within each event to determine if predictable patterns could be established. That is, were some lessons significantly more likely to be tied to certain events? The events/lessons matrix in Figure 1 highlights the relationships between each of the key events (columns) and its associated lessons (rows). The darkened circles indicate a significant relationship (p < .05); indicating that the number of pastors associating that lesson with the event was significantly higher than would be expected by chance. The white circles indicate a relationship that, while non-significant, was identified by at least two pastors. We included this latter frequency indicator for two reasons: (1) it is informative to highlight events that were associated with a wide variety of lessons; and (2) the small sample size may have limited the ability to detect significant event/lessons relationships. As will be discussed later, we recommend future research be conducted with a larger sample, and thus higher statistical power, to detect the strength of these relationships.

The matrix in Figure 1 allows visual examination of the data, showing where clusters of lessons occur. Several interesting patterns emerge. For example, a renewed call teaches the most statistically significant lessons (trust in/reliance on God, God's presence, courage to be one's self, and self-awareness). In contrast, education/training/seminars teach two statistically significant lessons: technical/professional knowledge and casting a vision. However, fourteen additional lessons were identified by at least two pastors, suggesting that educational experiences, for these pastors, tended to result in broader, less focused, set of lessons. Finally, lessons that came from leading without authority were so scattered that none of the lesson categories received two or more codes.


Looking at the lessons, we see that basic values lessons were consistently learned (that is, the relationship was statistically significant) in the highest number of events (i.e. leading with others, exposure to a larger scope, values playing out, family, good/bad role models). Dealing with conflict/confronting problems lessons were also consistently learned in several events (problem staff/church member/peer, leadership setback, failures/mistakes, being a church staff leader, and values playing out). If non-significant relationships are included, trust in/reliance on God was a key lesson learned in fourteen of the events. And some lessons, entrepreneurial thinking and use/abuse of power, were not associated with any event two or more times.

Looking at the event and lesson clusters, some other interesting patterns emerge. Most notably, the events where the pastor was "under fire" or trying to lead in a stressful situation tended to lead to lessons regarding handling relationships. During times of transition, the pastors learned lessons related to values and to God's role in their lives and leadership. Key events in pastors' lives where the emphasis was on an interaction with another person led to lessons on handling relationships and developing or affirming basic values and empathy.


This study provides an initial glimpse into the on-the-edge, high pressure, refining fire experiences that shape the leadership, character, and vocation of pastoral leaders. The current project has the potential to help leaders throughout the church to better understand their own developmental journey, to leverage the experience of other senior pastors who have been through similar experiences, and to be more intentional about their ongoing development.

The results suggest that there are a broad set of experiences that are critical in the development of pastors. Like with business leaders, education and training represents an important element in the pastoral leader's development, but the importance of ongoing development in on-the-job experiences, during transitions, and in relationships tends to be underestimated.

In addition to a predictable set of events, the current study also suggests that there are a predictable set of lessons that pastors learn in their leadership journeys. These lessons are in the areas of handling relationships, managerial thinking, personal and ministerial values, personal awareness, and God's role in their lives. Furthermore, a predictable set of lessons learned within each of these events emerged from this research. The results of this study highlight the key experiences and the likely lessons that pastors will be challenged to learn in the experiences. The results might also be used by pastors to identify what the need to learn and to proactively look for the experiences that will teach these lessons.


This study, along with other studies of the leadership journey during the past two decades (Howard & Bray, 1988; McCall et al., 1988; Morrison & Brantner, 1992), has implications for the way that pastoral education and development is provided in seminaries and other pastoral training programs. Seminaries are valuable places for pastors to acquire foundational skills and knowledge such as theology, scripture, counseling, preaching skills, deepening one's relationship with God, interpersonal relationship skills, personal growth (Dowson, & McInerney, 2005). However, the current research suggests that seminaries might increase their focus on giving pastors the skills they need to navigate through and learn from the key events in their careers, and include experiential components so students understand the realities of pastoral leadership while still having access to professors and advisors to provide insight and feedback to their learning.

Furthermore, denominations and seminaries might consider how they can support the ongoing development of pastors. For example, good role models emerged as the most common developmental experience, suggesting that denominations could likely enhance ongoing pastoral leadership development by pairing new pastors with experienced pastors who can serve as mentors. A broader approach to leadership development could include: formal and informal programs for pastors to meet regularly with other pastors to share struggles and advice; or continuing education programs that focus on the key struggles that pastors face such as problem staff/church members, living through personal traumas, shepherding others through trauma, starting a church from scratch, or transitioning from leading a moderate sized church to leading a large church.

On a personal level for pastors, the current study echoes the words of James when he says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4, New International Version). The pastors in this study said they grew the most through adversity and recognizing their brokenness, but emerged on the other side stronger leaders and more dependent on the grace of God.


As is true for all research, limitations in the current study should be considered. The study focused on Protestant ministers in the United States. Additional research is needed to ensure the results generalize to other groups. Second, the research method asked pastors to recall key events from the past. This relies on memory. The current study is a good first step in identifying some of the most crucial events, providing a solid foundation for future work in this area. However, one consequence of this methodology may be that only the most salient events were recalled with minor events or incremental learning less likely to emerge. These latter areas may be just as critical in the development of pastors and their impact should not be ignored. Third, binomial tests in the events by lesson matrix were conducted at the .05 level. Multiple tests result in alpha inflation, increasing the likelihood of finding significant results by chance. Given the exploratory nature of this study, the researchers felt that these analyses were appropriate, with the caveat that the matrix should be interpreted with caution and future research should be conducted to validate the findings with a larger sample. Future research might include longitudinal studies to assess leaders before and after the key experiences to evaluate the actual changes that occurred in their competencies, perspective, values, and skills.

Future Research

Several areas for future research are suggested by the findings. Using the event and lesson taxonomies generated in this research study, future research could use a larger and more diverse sample of pastors to validate the events and lessons that emerged in this study and assess the linkages between the events and lessons learned.

A second interesting area for research would be to explicitly compare the key events and lessons of pastors with the events and lessons identified by business leaders. Pastors and business leaders might overlap significantly, and where they don't, the two groups might learn valuable lessons from each other. The results of a study on this broader population could also be used to develop a generalized "leadership map" that identifies the shared key events of pastors' and business leaders' careers, the lessons they have learned, their current challenges, and personal leadership strategies. In addition, future studies looking at pastors, other leaders within the church, and leaders outside of the church could add insight into issues related to the integration of faith into the work of Christian leaders in secular organizations, and to leadership issues for lay people in the church.

A third important area for future research is exploring the personal and situational factors that can be leveraged by pastors to help them capture the lessons of experience in the moment. Without the right strategies, some leaders might experience significant events and fail to learn the important lessons available from these critical incidents. For example, research with business leaders has repeatedly shown the importance of feedback (Walker & Smither, 1999), a learning focus (Lombardo & Eichinger, 2000; Speitzer, McCall, & Mahoney, 1997), and reflection in the midst of or after the experience (Ellis & Davidi, 2005; Seibert, 1999) as critical elements in experiential learning. Likewise, previous research has identified several contextual factors (e.g., management support, job demands, level of responsibility) that are critical to leadership development (McCall, 1998; McCauley et al., 1994).

A final area for future research is in exploring the possible interventions that could be used to support continuing pastoral development. What post-graduate training programs can be introduced to help pastors deal with emerging challenges in their ministries? How can pastors be better linked together in networking and support groups? How can church denominations make better use of experienced pastors as mentors? Furthermore, a set of resources and development tools could conceivably be created to help pastors navigate through challenges and capture the lessons that only experience can teach. These tools could serve as interventions and simultaneously assess how effectively pastors are moving through seasons of challenge, testing, and discouragement. The current research offers exciting possibilities for pastors to better leverage the learning and developmental opportunities that may be available to them through everyday circumstances.


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MCKENNA, ROBERT B. Address: Title: Chair and Associate Professor of Organizational Psychology. Degree: B.A., Seattle Pacific University, 1990; M.B.A., 1992; Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University, 1998.

YOST, PAUL R. Address: Title: Associate Professor of Graduate Psychology. Degree: B.A., Seattle Pacific University, 1987; M.A. University of Maryland, 1993; Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1996.



Seattle Pacific University

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1 The American Society for Training and Development reported that in 2005, the companies they follow spent, on average, $955 per employee for formal training. Assuming 100 million workers in the United States, this equates to more than $90 billion spent by companies on formal training in one year alone.
TABLE 1 Key Events in Clergy Development

Key Events Percentage Description of Event Codes

Setting the Stage (6.7%)
Early non-church work 1.4% Being exposed to new environments,
 experience cultures, or management
 philosophies through non-church
Conversion 2.1% Dedicating one's life to Christ.
Call to ministry 3.2% Knowing that one is called to
 ministry (e.g. dreams, voice of
 God, other confirmatory guidance).
Transitions (26.6%)
Church staff leader 2.0% Being in a staff position in the
 church (e.g. Assistant Pastor,
 Associate Pastor).
Leading alone 2.7% Leading a small congregation (up
 to 200 people in the
Leading with others 4.8% Leading a medium-sized congregation
 (200-400 people in the
 congregation). This is a
 situation where the pastor gets
 things done with their staff.
Leading through others 2.4% Leading a large-sized congregation
 (400+ people in the
 congregation). In this situation,
 the senior pastor provides vision
 and direction, but the staff is
 responsible for execution.
Congregational switch 2.1% Moving from one type of
 congregation to a new one, such
 as a new denomintion, or a switch
 between rural and city.
Exposure to a larger 2.0% Experiencing a much larger and
 scope often expanding ministry (e.g. a
 member on staff at a mega-
Renewed call 2.4% Experiencing a spiritually
 redefining moment after an
 earlier calling to ministry. This
 may be a call from God to serve
 in a new way.
Personal trauma 5.8% Experiencing crises or traumas with
 a powerful emotional impact,
 whether the event was work-
 related or personal.
Shepherding others 2.4% Helping lead other people through
 through a personal crises or traumas in
 their lives, personal trauma

Leading in the Trenches (32.3%)
Leading without 2.1% Getting things done through other
 authority people without having any direct
 authority over them.
Starting from scratch 5.3% Building something from nothing
 (e.g. church plant, non-profit,
 para-church organization).
Organizational 2.5% Turning a church around;
 turnaround stabilizing a church, para-
 church, or non-profit
 organization gone haywire.
 The church may be suffering
 spiritually and experience
Problem staff/church 7.8% Confronting a staff member or
 members/peers congregation member with serious
 moral or performance issues.
Leadership setback 5.8% Perceiving a setback (e.g. not
 getting a coveted position, being
Failures/mistakes 8.8% Experiencing shortcomings and
 failures (e.g. ideas that didn't
 fly, conflicts that got out of
 hand, failures to make the most
 of opportunities).

When Other People Matter (22.7%)
Values playing out 4.4% Experiencing or observing short-
 lived events involving a person
 doing something to another person
 that had a visible impact and led
 to a value-laden conclusion.
Exposure to those in 4.1% Seeing or ministering to those in
 need poverty-stricken areas, or those
 who have other physical/
 psychological/spiritual needs.
Family 1.7% Experiences with family that led to
 new insights about leadership.
Good role models 10.5% Observing great role models. These
 people are often described in
 superlative terms, and are seen
 as a touchstone for behavior of
 "what to do."
Bad role models 2.0% Observing difficult individuals
 (often senior church workers) who
 may have fatal flaws. These are a
 touchstone for behavior of "what
 not to do."

Other Events (12.3%)
Education/training/ 8.2% Taking part in formal education and
 seminars training (e.g. seminary, formal
 coursework, church leadership
 seminars, and books).
Other 4.1% Experiencing other key events that
 have an effect on pastoral
 leadership development.

TABLE 2 Key Lessons in Clergy Development

Key Lessons Percentage Description of Lesson Codes

Managerial and Organizational Thinking (14.5%)
Technical/professional 2.2% Learning new content in a well-
 knowledge/skills defined technical area,
 including knowledge of
 scripture, administration,
 church finances, etc.
Learning how the 3.2% Learning about a specific
 organization works division, function within or
 outside of the church, or type
 of organization. Includes
 lessons about the ins and outs
 of the church or denomination.
Shouldering full 1.0% Standing alone, assuming the risk
 responsibility for the group; not doing it
 alone, but feeling leadership
 responsibility while building a
 working church/organization.
Thinking strategically 2.5% Considering, anticipating, and
 preparing for future
 consequences and decisions.
Managing change 2.0% Leading self and others through a
 change process.
Entrepreneurial thinking .7% Identifying new possibilities and
 the resources necessary to
 achieve them.
Casting a vision 2.9% Needing to have a vision and
 finding ways to communicate it
 and motivate people.
Handing Relationships (30.2%)
Understanding others' 3.9% Having a global perspective and
 perspectives openness to other perspectives
 on God and life.
Dealing with conflict 6.2% Learning that conflict is endemic,
 and should be confronted, not
Not taking things 1.0% Being objective in tough
 personally situations; problems are not
 always personal.
Being tough when 4.0% Developing the strength to do what
 necessary must be done in the service of
 the church/organization, even
 though it may involve a human
Directing and motivating 3.4% Learning about the staffing,
 others managing, and directing required
 to build a working church/
 organization (e.g. delegation,
 sharing responsibility,
 motivating others, teams).
Developing other people 6.7% Realizing part of dealing with
 people is developing them;
 individual growth benefits all.
Listening 1.5% Hearing what others are saying and
 focusing on statements of others
 (e.g., active listening)
You can't manage 3.5% Discovering that leadership cannot
 everything all alone and should not be done alone;
 reliance on others is crucial.
 References to church as
 community and trusting others.

Values (13.3%)
Basic values 5.7% Developing concepts of principles
 that guide ethical behavior at a
 higher "Kingdom" level.
Humility/brokenness 2.4% Admitting mistakes and/or being
 humble; recognizing personal
 limits and weaknesses.
Empathy 2.4% Connecting to the feelings of
Patience 2.0% Being willing to wait on the next
 thing or decision, especially
 when challenged.
Complexity of the human .8% Admitting that people find
 condition themselves in complex, often
 paradoxical situations where
 there aren't easy answers.
 Includes lessons related to
 complexity of life, theology,
 and God.

Pastoral Temperament (11.8%)
Self-confidence 2.5% Trusting or having knowledge of
 the self, or, in the extreme,
 being arrogant.
Self-awareness 4.4% Gaining self-insight or discovery
 (e.g. personal style, use of
 intuition, adaptability)
Resilience 1.9% Developing ways to accomplish
 goals in the face of obstacles.
Use and abuse of power .8% Dealing with the double-edged
 sword of power, recognizing
 power may help or hinder.
Learning to submit 2.2% Submitting to God or others,
 including lessons of obedience
 to God.

Personal Awareness (14.9%)
Work and personal life .7% Gaining a perspective and finding
 balance in work and personal
Knowing what really 1.2% Finding something worth doing on
 excites you its own merit, or something that
 is distasteful and will be
Risk taking 2.2% Being prepared to take advantage
 of opportunities as they arise
 and take risks.
Courage to be yourself 2.0% Being aware of self and
 communicating using a unique,
 personal voice.
It's not about you 3.2% Realizing that it is about God's
 purpose and serving others, not
 selfish motives.
Seeing yourself as a 1.9% Recognizing that the
 leader responsibility of leadership
 must be owned.
What's really important 2.0% Learning a new perspective on the
 things that matter most in life.
Learning focus 1.7% Being in a learning mode
 throughout career and life.

God's Role (12.3%)
Trust in/reliance on God 8.6% Recognizing the importance of
 relying on God through difficult
 and easy times.
God's presence 1.7% Feeling God showing up through
 prayer, other people, dreams,
 etc. in adversity and peace.
Importance of Scripture 2.0% Relying on Scripture as an anchor.
Other (2.9%) Experiencing other key lessons
 that have an effect on pastoral
 leadership development.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Rosemead School of Psychology
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Article Details
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Author:McKenna, Robert B.; Yost, Paul R.; Boyd, Tanya N.
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2007
Previous Article:Book received.
Next Article:Learning agility in clergy: understanding the personal strategies and situational factors that enable pastors to learn from experience.

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