Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Bryan Ray


African American Church, Leadership, Conflict, Black Church, Staff Conflict


Christianity | Leadership Studies | Religion


The African American church has been the cornerstone of many urban centers since its birth in the United States. While it has been a haven for so many, the African American church (or Black church) has faced conflict, especially among its leaders. Senior Pastors and staff are keys to ministry progress in urban centers. This study utilized data from leaders within the African American church in the form of surveys, focus groups, and private interviews to identify the sources of conflict between Senior Pastor in the church and their ministry staff or team members. The results showed that while there is conflict between Senior Pastor and staff, it is more indirect than direct and that the majority of the respondents acknowledged there was more interpersonal conflict within the church leadership. Further, the results showed that familial upbringing and nurture has a definite impact on the way African American church leaders manage conflict. These results suggest that African American church leaders need to focus on developing conflict resolution training specifically directed toward their ministry staff and volunteers.