Abstract: The study examined the Effect of Pastoral Leadership on Local Church Growth. The researcher intended to provide pastors with information about leadership practices that will help them grow their churches. Using two instruments, personal interviews of pastors (PIP) and the leadership practice questionnaire (LPQ), the researcher gathered information that revealed the state of leadership practices in local churches. Data analysis produced several discoveries that benefit the local church suffering from a shortage of leaders. The findings suggest that among the diverse pastoral leadership practices, serving and loving, visitation, and hospitality related to church growth in local growing churches. Results also indicated that indicated an essential link exists between effective pastoral leadership practices and church growth.
Churches whose ministers performed more effective practices that related to church growth such as serving and loving, visitation, and hospitality saw their churches grow, while ministers who did not perform these practices experienced decline. Another discovery indicated that ministers who actually served their members and communities with genuine love had their churches grow, while those who failed to serve their members and communities with genuine love had churches that declined. These findings contribute to a better understanding of current reality and inform practice for stronger pastoral leadership practices in more churches in the future.
Effect Of Pastoral Leadership On Local Church Growth
1.1 Background to the Study
Leadership is a very important aspect of every organisation. They are the motivators, inspirers, influencers, decision makers, implementers, organisers, directors, and in fact, an engine block or foundation stone in which groups, organisations or associations stand. Ward (2020) describes it as “the art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal. In a business setting, this mean directing workers and colleagues with a strategy to meet the company’s needs.” For any organisation, association or institution to function effectively, leaders are needed to direct or shepherd them towards achieving desired goals or objectives. Leaders usually adopt any leadership style they fit in or inbuilt in them in order to easily or smoothly achieve their goals.
Some of these leadership styles as listed by Wikipedia (2021) and, Martinuzi (2021) are Autocratic Style, Authoritative Style, Transformational, Charismatic, Pacesetting Style, Democratic Style, Coaching Style, Affiliative Style, and Laissez Style. To Tamunomiebi, Omosioni & Odunayo (2018), “a leader is known by the leadership style he adopts. This means that every leader has leadership style and this entails how efficient a leader is in carrying out his duties as a leader. There are different types of leadership styles adopted by different kinds of leaders and there is no type of leadership style that is better off than the other; each is used depending on the situation.”
Leadership of any organisation is given any name or title that suits them. Some see them as leaders, administrators, directors, and others. In the Christendom, some denominations view them as pastors, evangelist, leader, reverends, among others. However, Pastoral leadership seemed to be the most generally accepted term in discussing church leadership.
Pastoral leaders are seen as spiritual leadership and the basis behind the rapid growth of churches (Kim, 2019). Kim emphasises that “aside from providing spiritual leadership, pastors also play administrative leadership roles in the development of their churches, a role that they themselves often fail to recognize within their respective spiritual organisations.”
In support of this, Shin (2004) points out that pastoral leadership “was given to us based on the foundation of Our Lord. As Christians, we begin to realize that the pastoral leadership is good in the eyes of Our Lord and since it is based on the Bible, it is better than that of secular management.” This entails that pastoral leaders are divinely ordained or chosen to lead the church. Other roles of these pastoral leaders as captured by Feela (2021) are “not just to be a disciple; it is to call parishioners to gospel discipleship. A communion of disciples is the core of parish life, but the notion of communion envisioned by the gospel is radically different from other types of associations. Discipleship to Christ comes as a consequence of being gathered by God.
The role of pastoral leadership is to help the community discover its actual communion in Christ.” In view of this, Oloyede (2020) says that pastoral leaders must have principles if they must succeed in piloting affairs of the church. According to him, these principles are principle of service (Luke 22:24-27)), principle of sacrifice, principle of suffering (Philippians 2:9), and principle of submission (Mark, 14:36). Perhaps this prompted Coutts (2008) to advice pastoral leaders to emulate the following biblical heroes; Moses, David, Paul, and Jesus. He explains that “Moses was wise to listen to Jethro’s counsel to delegate tasks to the reliable and empower his assistants (Exod. 18:24). David was courageous in the face of overwhelming obstacles (1 Sam. 17) and inspired others to follow him (2 Sam. 23).
Paul directed all his ambition and ability to the mission (Acts 20:34, 35) and was conversant in every culture (Acts 17; 18). Jesus carefully trained a team of successors (Matt. 10; Luke 10), was apparently quite amiable at parties (Matt. 11:19), and was apt to attract a crowd (Luke 9:10–12).” Christian Reformed Church notes that what drives good leadership in church include “Character in the leader (which generates trust on the part of followers), conviction in the leader (which helps the congregation discern its purpose and vision), and competencies in the leader (which help a congregation function as a healthy system—i.e., deal with the normal anxieties and conflicts of communal life in healthy and productive ways)” Others are confluence of leader, congregation, time, place, ministry opportunity, and resources (gifts of God’s Spirit that enables a leader and congregation to work joyfully together in realizing God’s purposes).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The Great Commission mandates the Church to experience both qualitative and quantitative growth. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matt. 28:18-20). Christ expected his disciples to lead the church to experience dynamic growth. Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that churches apply best techniques and organize many church programs with their flocks, they do not experience dynamic growth.
Ministries fail, often not because we have failed to understand or even apply the best techniques and programmatic advances with the flock. We often fail because we have either forgotten or have not known that the key to every ministry is the quality of the shepherd who leads. The lack of effective leadership practice in today’s churches has caused all kinds of problems which have impeded the healthy growth of the church. This study looks in this direction at the effects of pastoral leadership practice on church growth in churches in the study area.
Effect Of Pastoral Leadership On Local Church Growth
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to examine Effect of Pastoral Leadership on Local Church Growth. Specifically, the study aimed at investigating:
- The common leadership practices in local churches in the study area.
- The leadership practices in churches that relate to local church growth.
- The leadership practices that pastors identify as having a positive impact on local church growth.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be immense benefits to numerous churches, pastors and the society. Effective leadership can be positive on the growth and effectiveness of every organization. The Church is no different, and it relies on its leaders to provide strategy, vision, and guidance in the day-to-day operation of its ministries. One of the important dimensions of being an effective pastor is leading the church to make disciples. The Lord has chosen the church as a means of spreading the message of salvation to the entire world. In order to fulfill this mission, the pastor must be committed to feeding, organizing, and leading a well-trained group of God’s people to fulfill his will. Without strong pastoral leadership in the local churches, the ministries and people will suffer.
The findings of this research could be a basis for developing strong church leaders for effective church growth. The researcher also believes that this study helps pastors know the best leadership practices that enhance church growth in the local churches. It bring to the fore the pitfalls in leadership that do not promote church growth and how to avoid them.
1.5 Research Questions
In an attempt to address the research problem, this dissertation addressed the questions below:
- What are the common pastoral leadership practices in local churches?
- What pastoral leadership practices in churches relate to local church growth?
- What pastoral leadership practices are identify as having a positive impact on local church growth?
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
This study focused on effect of pastoral leadership on local church growth. It is delimited in scope to all the pastors in the study area who must have served the church at least 2 years in the God’s Vineyard.
1.7 Research Methodology
Research methodology is a systematic plan for conducting research. This part of the study therefore discusses the systematic processes used to collect information and data for the study. The methodology discussed includes the following: type of research design, participants, instrumentation, data collection, data analysis and generalizability.