Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy


Steven Smith


Revitalization, Psychological Capital, Lead Pastor, Church Renewal


Leadership Studies


In response to the substantial amount of church revitalization that is necessary to cause a noteworthy decrease in the 70 percent of churches in America that are declining or plateauing (Rainer, 2019, para. 4), lead pastors carry a biblical responsibility to lead churches into growth and spiritual health (Jamieson, 2011, para. 15-16). While church planting is a respectable portion of the macro solution, revitalizing declining or plateaued existing churches is an equally significant part of the solvent. However, a substantial majority of revitalization literature and education focuses on the practical methodology of implementing church renewal and emphasizing the lead pastor’s influence on the process. Yet, there is little literature on the psychological nature of the lead pastor in church revitalization. Even further, there is a gap in the area of how the lead pastor’s psychological capital influences the process of leading church revitalization. This mixed-methods study gathered 104 surveys and interviewed 10 lead pastors serving in the Church of God seeking to narrow the gap, interjecting a psychological study intended to amend the methodologies of leading church revitalization. This study found that there is a medium to strong quantitative and qualitative correlation between the lead pastor’s psychological capital and influence upon leading church revitalization. The implications of this study suggest that church revitalization literature and education would benefit from the inclusion of psychological capital measurement and development.