Title page for ETD etd-11132007-100732

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Pierce, Stephen Brian
URN etd-11132007-100732
Document Title Exchange relationships between leaders and followers in Baptist churches
Degree PhD (Practical Theology)
Department Practical Theology
Advisor Name Title
Prof C J A Vos Committee Chair
Prof H J C Pieterse Committee Co-Chair
  • transformational leadership
  • legitimization
  • followership
  • exchange theory
  • LMX
  • leadership credit
  • quantum theology
  • professionalization
  • relational leadership
  • Baptist pastors
  • complex leadership
  • servant leadership
  • leadership charisma
  • Baptist leadership
Date 2007-09-05
Availability unrestricted

This research into Baptist leadership examines the processes of Christian leadership in terms of human relationships in churches under the microscope of a leadership theory known as leader member exchange theory (LMX), and discovers the correlation between a high level of LMX in a local church and the positive outcomes of leader legitimation in a society where pastoral tenure and pastoral termination project disheartening statistics.

LMX theory is particularly suited for the study of the Baptist congregational leadership paradigm with emphasis on heightened follower participation in dyadic relationships between the pastor and church members. In the light of current convoluted leadership praxis, provides an appropriate theoretical tool for relational analysis.

The background to this thesis is the perceived growing inclination among Baptist pastors to adopt a leadership paradigm, which exalts the person and role of the pastor to the exclusion of the church members. This “great man theory” is being modeled from sources that focus on church growth rather than church health, and represents a departure from servant leadership, which has long been the model for Baptists in general. This “new” trend of charismatic leadership may be one of the reasons for the inclination toward shorter tenures and pastoral termination, among Baptists, particularly in the USA.

Understanding the peculiarities of congregational government is of particular importance to the research, with emphasis on the perceptions and expectations of church members regarding current leadership in their local church, and how the perception of personal value correlation translates into member satisfaction.

The Literature on leadership offers a multiplicity of innovative ideas, mostly focused on the leader, and after literature research into the subjects of transactional transformational, complexity theory, and servant leadership no single theory of leadership offers completeness, hence the term quantum or complexity will assist in moving Baptist pastors from average leadership.

The results of the research are then analysed in the light of LMX theory, and the conclusion that in the congregational structure of Baptists, LMX theory offers valuable insights into member satisfaction.

The characteristic of practical theology is the critical correlation of theological insight and empirical observation that will result in a new theory of praxis, and the final purpose is to focus attention on the positive outcome of healthy leader member exchange in local churches and the extended zone of influence through enhanced legitimation of pastoral leadership.

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