Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Kimberly Anthony


Behavioral Leadership, Clergy Leadership, Laity Involvement


This qualitative research case study explored pastoral leadership behaviors and the involvement of local church laity in local churches in the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church (NCCUMC). The general problem addressed was the declining involvement of lay persons in local church service activities, specifically within local churches in the NCCUMC. The problem is applicable to business as previous studies describe the non-profit sector, including churches, filling gaps in social and economic programs previously being supplied by declining governmental assistance programs. The involvement of laity provides help needed to support mission and ministry programs in local churches and clergy provide direct leadership to laity and others in the local church setting. Research questions explored how pastors describe their primary leadership behaviors and how they attribute those behaviors to influencing levels of laity involvement in worship service and other mission and ministry programs of the local church. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted involving a purposeful sampling of pastors of local churches reporting an increase in worship service attendance over a five-year statistical reporting period. The study was grounded in the behavioral approach to leadership. Seven common themes emerged from data analysis to include (a) empowering and equipping, (b) personality, (c) attention to spiritual disciplines, (d) relationships with others, (e) set expectations, (f) high priority placed on worship service quality, and (g) the relationship between worship service attendance and other mission and ministry programs of the church. Based on these emergent themes and review of academic literature, five recommendations for action include (a) pay attention to spiritual disciplines, (b) increase awareness, (c) identify spiritual gifts, (d) pay attention to the quality of worship services, (e) set and communicate expectations. Key words: behavioral leadership, clergy leadership, laity involvement, local church, United Methodist Church