Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


J.D. Judd


Supportive Relationships, discouragement, pastors, burnout


Educational Leadership | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The present study investigated the impact of discouragement on Latin pastors planting churches in the missionary field and provided a psychological resource for pastors coping with the challenge. Due to their unique characteristics, supportive relationships were investigated regarding how it impacts the variable of discouragement due to emotional exhaustion and the absence of self-care (Williams, 2019). Since pastors and ministers face this challenge regularly (Stott, 2014), exploring networks for support and help in distress is essential. Social constructivists see motivation as a social phenomenon crucial for individuals, and the Adlerian Theory (Carlson & Englar-Carlson, 2017) calls attention to relationships and encouragement as protective factors. Findings suggest that social support provides a vital resource against the personal experience of discouragement. There is a gap in the literature about Latin pastors and their need for a network of support in the ministry field while planting churches in a foreign country. The instruments for data collection were the guiding keys for exploring the relationship between discouragement and lack of supportive relationships. The theological framework used in this study was based on the Scriptural doctrine of God’s divine plan for men not to be alone and the need for community as an essential element for living, growth, and ministry as described in the Scriptures. Apostle Paul preached and modeled mentorship and encouragement in the New Testament and contended that community is essential. In the Old Testament, God created man and provided practical help for him not to be alone. In addition, the Lord revealed himself within a daily relationship with His creatures and provided reconciliation with humanity. There is an unquestionable biblical and theological foundation for the need for man to have supportive relationships.