Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Gary Bredfeldt


Burnout, Emotional Intelligence, Pastoral Leadership, Leadership Effectiveness, Pastoral Burnout


Christianity | Leadership Studies | Religion


Emotional intelligence (EI), employee burnout, and effective leadership traits are constructs that have been researched from a traditional, organizational perspective since the 1970s. Over the past 15 years, pastoral leaders and clergy have been identified as leaders working in the same capacity as public safety officials, medical professionals, mental health specialists, and other helping professions. Research suggests that leaders working in helping professions are often exposed to situations that may induce burnout, create emotional dissonance, and may have adverse implications on effective leadership behaviors during experienced burnout. The significance of this study lies in its identification of a gap in the literature that investigates the self-reported causations of pastoral burnout and the roles of self-reported emotional intelligence on effective leadership behaviors during burnout. Therefore, this phenomenological study explores the self-reported factors that contribute to levels of pastoral burnout and the self-reported role of emotional intelligence on pastoral leadership effectiveness during experienced burnout among 12 senior-level pastors who lead in non-denominational churches with 50-500 congregants in the Southeastern region of the United States. The study was conducted using a phenomenological qualitative research design. The participants were interviewed face-to-face. The interviews were uploaded into the NVivo data analysis program where the participants’ statements were transcribed to identify themes and patterns that satisfied theoretical saturation. The constructs of this study were founded on theological and theoretical frameworks that supported the research and interview questions that guided this study.