Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Jeffrey Davis


leadership, clergies, burnout, retention, small churches, Assembly of God




The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to discover the perception of 15 small church Assemblies of God pastors in San Antonio with regards to leadership style, leadership demands, leadership stressors, and ministry burnout. The researcher used the interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach due to the openness of collecting the data through semi-structured interviews that allowed participants to respond to open-ended questions. The additional interview instrument was the WLAB scale and the burnout inventory instrument from Iverson, Olekalns, and Erwin (1998). The researcher coded and evaluated data using NVIVO12 software. Through the association of common themes, the researcher unearthed responses to the vast challenges for clergymen in ministry and retention. Participants established that their lack of training led to unnecessary stress. Nevertheless, the pastors' primary source of stress, was dealing with people in their congregation. Intrapersonal conflict becomes just another stress attribute to the already long list of congregational demands a small church pastor is responsible for. In addition, over half of the pastors interviewed could not define their job description. The common sentiment was that their job description consisted of all that the ministry required, from building to congregational needs. There is limited time available for spiritual and self-care. Further stating that the ministering and caring of others takes a toll emotionally and physically. Not allowing for the proper care of mind, body, and spirit could lead to ministry burnout.

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