Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Joseph E. Butler


Associate Pastors, Marriage Family & Ministry, Stress & Depression, Lead Pastors support


Christianity | Educational Leadership


The role of a pastor encompasses many duties and responsibilities within the church as well as in the home. In particular, associate pastors are akin to lead pastors in dealing with issues that arise in their personal marriages, family, and ministry. Balancing the three can be daunting and arduous tasks without proper guidance and leadership. Lead pastors have a responsibility to assist associate pastors in balancing those three areas of concern to ensure the ability to serve in ministry with a strong state of mind necessary for a full and thriving career in leading others to Christ. Without the assistance from the lead pastors, associate pastors face stress and depression that negatively affect a successful career in ministry. The purpose of this qualitative multi-case study was to explore associate pastor’s perceptions of how the lead pastor encourages a balance between marriage, family, and ministry as it relates to stress and depression. Associate pastors will perform their calling in a better state of mind and with renewed confidence. The participants in the study represented eight different churches throughout the state of North Carolina. Surveys, questionnaires, and telephonic interviews were conducted both online and in a natural setting where the participants felt free to answer the questions honestly. Servant leadership was the guiding theory of this study where leaders place the needs of others over their own self-interest through the application of listening, showing empathy, healing, awareness, conceptualization, stewardship, and a commitment to the growth of others.