Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Deidra Jackson


Christian, competence, leadership, nondenominational, parachurch, training


Educational Leadership


Research indicates that missional or nondenominational U.S. churches may include more than 60,000 such churches, representing at least 12 million followers (Thumma, 2020). Additionally, some ministry leaders predict denominational affiliation will wane over the next decade (Earls, 2021a), as will the training and other support they offer. The purpose of this phenomenological study will be to assess and understand the experiences of missional ministry leaders after participation in a structured or unstructured competency development program and their ensuing dynamic engagement in ministry. Dynamic engagement will be defined as "fully engaged and intentional" (MacFarland, 2019, para. 1), as evidenced by implementing a plan to cultivate disciples. Missional Christian ministry leaders in attendance with the researcher at workshops and seminars have communicated issues with fundamental deficits in leadership preparedness due to a lack of or insufficient training. Research exploring leadership development programs abounds. Pedagogical models for preparing ministers who serve outside larger religious constructs seem lacking. A two-phase qualitative methodology, including an online demographic survey and a subsequent inductive one-on-one interview, will be employed. Husserl’s view of essence will guide this study (Creely, 2018). Within a Husserlian (1970) orientation, this researcher will interpret the essence of the participant’s lived experiences as their sense of the phenomenon under review. According to Husserl’s (1970) theory, essence is a variable reflecting the qualities of a thing and the particular observer (Ross, 2006; Williams, 2001). Moreover, as those qualities exist in a substance, they thereby make that thing what it is, individually, by the observer (Ross, 2006; Williams, 2001).