11.1 Dissertation Notices

Cosgrove, J. F. (2016). The impact of values clarification and expression of beliefs on dysfunctional leadership among church lay leaders. Ph.D., Andrews University.

Leaders face challenges both from within themselves and others. Dysfunctions within the leader and their group can lessen leadership effectiveness. It appears some leaders manage these dysfunctions better than others. More needs to be understood about how these dysfunctions are best mediated, and some have suggested the way to do that is through discovery and articulation of values and beliefs. This study followed a quantitative correlational research design. Data was obtained using surveys that 84 participants completed online. Participants were selected from current lay leaders and former lay leaders of not more than three years past from Christ United Methodist Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Collegedale Community Church of Collegedale, Tennessee. The Dark Side Leadership Profile (DSLP) was used to measure the degree of reported codependence, compulsion, paranoia, narcissism, and passive-aggressive tendencies (described as dysfunctions) while the Modeling-the-Way Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) Self was used to measure the degree of reported discovery and authentic expression of values and beliefs. Regression and correlation analysis was used to test for a relationship between Modeling-the-Way and each dysfunction. The results of the study indicated a moderate degree of each of the dysfunctions existing among the participants; however, higher dysfunction scores were evident for compulsion and codependence, while lower scores, yet still in the moderate range, were measured for passive-aggression. The results also indicated a consistently high degree of discovery and authentic expression of values and beliefs among the participants. Consistent with predictions, a statistically significant inverse relationship was observed between Modeling-the-Way LPI Self scores and the DSLP scores, measuring each dysfunction with the exception of codependence among lay leaders in Collegedale Community Church. With that exception these results indicate that the higher one scored on the Modeling-the-Way LPI Self, a measure used to represent the degree one has discovered and authentically expressed values and beliefs, the lower one scored on the DSLP inventory, measuring dysfunction. Results also indicated that a major component of Modeling-the-Way that asks constituents “for feedback on how my [the leader’s] actions affect others’ performance” significantly impacted every dysfunction with the exception of codependence.

The purpose of the study was to explore if the discovery and authentic expression of a leader’s values and beliefs may lower that leader’s tendencies toward these dysfunctions. The results of the study indicate that the more lay leaders in these congregations reported they were discovering and authentically expressing their values to their constituents, the lower were their reported levels of dysfunctional tendencies, with the exception of codependence in Collegedale Community Church. A review of the literature validates the results obtained. It is therefore suggested that the more leaders discover and authentically express values and beliefs, the less dysfunction will be reported and they will be perceived to be more effective.

Cozart, Harvey. (2016). The impact of spiritual mentoring among African American males at Eastern Kentucky University. D.Min., Asbury Theological Seminary.

Academic and social integration into university culture can be very difficult for African American students who are the minority on campus. I think that without support and guidance, African American male students can become withdrawn and isolated, and struggle with their own personal identity, self-esteem, and academic achievement. Many African American males struggle academically, socially, and spiritually at predominantly white universities. Lang stated that African American males proportionately to their peers do not graduate from college, and that there exists a large disparity in the number of African American males who enroll in college and those who graduate (1988). Colleges and universities need to work harder at addressing the academic survival of African American male students. There are very few programs in predominantly white institutions that offer guidance and social support in the context that most African American males would need to be successful in school. Cuyjet suggests that there is a lack of research in the area of retention and mentoring of African American male college students on a predominately white college campus (1997). African American male college students are the least successful group at navigating and succeeding in higher education. For myriad reasons, most African American male college students do not fare well on college and university campuses (Cuyjet, 1997).

The purpose of this study was to investigate how mentoring impacted African American males at Eastern Kentucky University in the areas of Christian identity formation, education, and personal identity formation within a college ministry context during the span of the mentoring relationship/experience from 2003 to 2007. I randomly selected 10 to 12 African American males who attended Eastern Kentucky University and were a part of a past spiritual mentoring experience within a college ministry context from 2003 to 2007. I then conducted interviews with the males that I selected. Interviews were carried out in person and by phone on an individual basis. The use of interviews served as one of the primary sources for data collection. The interviews were both open ended and focused-interviews that were semi-structured. This project relied upon several methodological tools traditionally used in case study research, including documentation, interviews, and observations. This study was a pre-intervention study, in order to help universities and campus ministries develop a more effective way to engage African American males at a predominately white institution.

As a result of my research, I discovered four major findings. First, subjects seem to thrive when connected with a group of their African American peers within the positive mentoring environment generated through collegiate, Black and Christian. Second, subjects began to grow in their confidence and ability as leaders when given opportunities to lead. Third, subjects began to make positive life decisions and grew spiritually when engaged in learning scripture and taking spiritual retreats that focused on growing in their faith. Last, subjects began to develop a greater desire to excel academically even before college, through the pressure of family or a desire to leave the negative environments in their hometowns.

The findings of this study demonstrated that mentoring had a significant impact on African American males who attended the spiritual mentoring program at Eastern Kentucky University. These findings demonstrated mentoring can play a significant role in the life of a person and encourage growth and balance. Mentoring can bring about positive change and empower those being mentored to discover their identity and spiritual direction.

Manuel, William M. (2017). Missional virtues in leadership: Assessing the role of character strengths of Christian social entrepreneurs in creating missional organizations. Ph.D.I.S., Asbury Theological Seminary.

In the past few years, social entrepreneurship and the development of faith-based nonprofits has grown both in practice and in interest as a missiological activity within Christianity. Studies of the leadership of nonprofit founders typically focus on the traits, skills, and strategies in order to understand the growth of these organizations. The relationship between the character strengths of Christian social entrepreneurs and the growth of their organizations has not been explored in previous studies. This dissertation attempts to bridge that gap by asking the question: What are character strengths that have been influential and beneficial in the leadership needed by Christian social entrepreneurs in starting organizations that lead to stability and growth in mission? The findings of this dissertation are that there are particular and identifiable virtues and character strengths that are possessed by Christian social entrepreneurs which enable them to lead in the growth of the organizations that they have started. This study is accomplished through in-depth interviews that focus on critical incidents and areas that illuminate the virtues and character strengths of Christian social entrepreneurs who have positively affected the growth of their organizations, utilizing the theoretical concepts of Positive Organizational Scholarship and Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson’s classification of Virtues and Character Strengths framework.

Meier, Timothy G. (2017). The effect of mentoring on interns in a cross-cultural setting to produce increased missional engagement. D.Min., Nyack College, Alliance Theological Seminary.

The purpose of writing The Effect of Mentoring on Interns in a Cross-Cultural Setting to Produce Increased Missional Engagement is to examine the relationship between mentoring and mission. This is accomplished through interviewing interns who have served with C&MA/Envision in a cross-cultural setting for a minimum of two months. For a minimum of 45 minutes, 17 interns were interviewed, and the results show a strong correlation between high mentoring and high missional engagement.

Jackson, Tatrabian D. (2016). The relationship between transformational leadership style and employees’ perception of leadership success in higher education. D.B.A., Liberty University.

The problem addressed examined whether two merged academic institutions were successful in implementing a transformational leadership style within the united organization. Successful leadership cannot be limited to the perception of only the leader, but must include the perceptions of the follower as well. The focus of this study was to investigate the relationship between a transformational leadership style and the employee’s perception of leadership success. This research study provides the opportunity to advance the fields of organizational change, management, and academics by examining the success of transformational leadership through the perception of the employees in higher education as it related to the outcomes of leadership. Reviewing and analyzing the degree to which employees’ respond to transformational leadership within the literature of other business, industry, and organizations provided the arena to acknowledge the gap in knowledge. All four components of the transformational leadership style: Idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration that a transformational leader possesses and implements effect the expected outcomes of the follower. Transformational leadership style is essential to transforming lives and organizations. Christians and businesspersons alike must understand the principle “as iron sharpens iron.” Proverbs (27:17) states that Christians are to build each other up and bring out the best in one another. The findings highlight the potential benefits of the use of transformational leadership as an advancement of humankind and business and industry profits.

Ott, Kenneth R., (2016). Initiating a missional mindset: The International Leadership Institute’s eight core valuesas impetus for missional living. D.Min., Asbury Theological Seminary.

For two-thousand years people have been asking, “How do you make a Christian disciple?” Western Christianity has offered innumerable programs and methods in answer to this question. However, statistics indicate that churches are dying and Christianity in North America is waning, especially in light of the rapid growth currently seen in Asia and Africa. Church growth experts, denominational leaders, and theologians have proposed countless theories to explain the cause for this dichotomy, one of the most recent being that the Western church has abandoned its missional calling. These same authorities insist that “missional churches,” “missional leadership,” and “missional communities” are the cure for the anemic Christian faith in the West. However, as Jesus demonstrated, discipleship happens best in personal relationships, not through institutions. Yet so little of the missional movement is currently focused on personal discipleship. Could the decline of Western Christianity be a result of a vital, mission-oriented component missing in our individual spiritual lives?

This research project examined the potential of the International Leadership Institute’s (ILI) Eight Core Values for initiating a missional mindset and impetus for missional living in the Christian faith. This dissertation offers a qualitative evaluation of the ILI Regional Conference training program and assesses the impact of the Eight Core Values in the lives of those who embrace them. Using the critical Incident technique in three phases of data collection, this project identified persons whose Christian beliefs and behaviors had been impacted by embracing the Values as a way of life. While the transformed beliefs and behaviors did not definitively ascribe to the definition of missional living, they demonstrated the potential of the Eight Core Values as a pedagogical construct to introduce a missional mindset in Christ-followers.

Torgesen, William J., III (2016). The implementation of an internship manual to improve the quality of the mentoring relationships of the pastoral internships at the Moody Bible Institute. D.Min., Trinity International University.

The purpose of this Doctor of Ministry project was to measure the effectiveness of implementing an Internship Manual into the pastoral internships at the Moody Bible Institute and to discern how specific mentoring principles and practices served to improve the quality of the mentoring relationship.

The project required research from a biblical and theological perspective, and from current literature in the field of mentoring. Current literature supported the need for mentors to be trained in specific and intentional mentoring principles and practices. This project required the development of a pre-manual survey and open-ended questions, the development of the Internship Manual, a post-manual survey, and a post-manual semi-formal interview. Students and mentors were surveyed prior to the use of the Internship Manual, and students and mentors were surveyed and interviewed who fulfilled the internship with the use of the Internship Manual. The evaluative results were categorized and reflected significant improvements in the quality of the mentoring relationship based on the use of the Internship Manual.

The researcher concluded that the Internship Manual was effective in improving the relationships, organization is critical to foster mentoring, and mentors need to invest time to lead the process. The internship manual should be modified for clarity, and an orientation class should be developed. Finally, intentional efforts must be made to incorporate strategies for soul care, spiritual formation, and theological integration.

Weigley, David E. (2016). Exploring the transition experience for first time local conference presidents in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists: Narratives from conference presidents’ career transitions. Ph.D., Andrews University.

The position of the president of a conference in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (a senior leadership role) has currently no policy stipulating leadership training prerequisites. Leaders transitioning into the president’s position typically are selected from a pool of successful pastors, departmental directors, and executive secretaries by a constituency meeting of delegates from local churches and conference institutions. This qualitative study probed the transition of 12 first-time local conference presidents. The information was gathered by recording in-depth interviews. Eight themes surfaced from the exploration. Leaders experienced the transition as overwhelming, challenging their spirituality, involving new constellations of relationships, and a shifting of identity. They also noted its impact on their families. Other themes dealt with the leaders’ prior job experience, intentional leadership preparation, and mentors. The findings suggest the need for more intentional leadership and managerial training, including knowledge of basic business principles and financial management. There is also a need for gender diversity training and for support in the form of mentors, assessments, and cohort groupings.

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