Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Gary Bredfeldt


COVID-19, Leadership, Executive Pastor, Ministry Team, Performance


Leadership Studies | Practical Theology | Religion


Based on available literature, little systematic investigation has explicitly considered the extent to which investing in church management, including hiring executive pastors, affects church performance. The purpose of this exploratory sequential mixed-methods study is to assess phenomenological and correlational data from one hundred of the fastest-growing churches in the United States, as ranked by LifeWay Research (2018) for calendar years 2017-2018 and draw available conclusions on church executive leadership capacity versus performance. Phenomenological data was used to qualitatively examine the executive management functions at these churches and analyze how each determined its need for such expertise based on leadership team organization. Statistical data was used to quantify non-causal relationships between time and money invested within eight individual aspects of church executive management and the rate of growth for those churches. The desired outcome was further insight into executive management taxonomy specific to fast growing churches and an understanding of how executive management investment may factor into church performance in particular. Church leaders desiring to make effective personnel staffing decisions consistent with their particular vision, ministry, organization, program, and financial stewardship goals may find utility in study findings.