Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


David Roberts


church boards, elder team, decision-making, conflict resolution


Christianity | Leadership Studies


Conflict is one of the primary reasons church leaders leave churches, quit vocational ministry, are terminated or are ineffective in their leadership and Christian service. Church leaders become discouraged, less effective, quit their leadership positions, or even leave congregations because of conflict or disagreements over decisions. Ineffective decision-making and conflict within the leadership team harm the ministry organization and the leaders. The problem this action research project addresses is the need for a clearly defined process of group decision-making and conflict resolution among church and ministry leadership boards. The purpose of this project was to evaluate and improve the tools used by the Southlands Church elder team for decision-making and conflict resolution. This project sought to determine the effectiveness with which the ten members of the Southlands Church of Brea, California, elder team used their Unity Charter and Leading through Collaboration tools to assist their decision- making and conflict resolution. As an action research project, the elder team from Southlands Church participated in an initial round of individual interviews, a focus group discussion, and then follow-up individual interviews to evaluate the focus group experience and changes made to the tools. The thesis of this research project is` if the Southlands church elder team utilizes a tool for decision-making and conflict resolution, then they will be more confident in their leadership and more effective in decision-making and conflict resolution. The thesis proved to be true as participants described their increased sense of well-being and confidence in handling decision- making and conflict resolution. This research will contribute to the body of research regarding church leadership and will provide insight into the value of team participation in creating policies and procedures.