11.2 Dissertation Notices

Cho, C. S. (2006). The relationship between experiences of Master of Divinity students at the Seventh-day Adventist theological seminary and their spirituality. Ph.D., Andrews University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 3213127.

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the experiences of Master of Divinity students while enrolled in the seminary and their level of spirituality upon completion.

A quantitative research design with a limited qualitative piece was used to survey M.Div. students who graduated in 2004. Exactly 100 participants completed the Christian Spiritual Participation Profile and an instrument that explored the degree of effort put into formal curriculum offering, and the frequency of participation in non-formal curriculum and socialization activities. Participants were also asked to share a positive experience and to recommend changes to the seminary curriculum. The Pearson Correlation and ANOVA procedures were employed to analyze the data.

Spirituality correlated positively with the following: the effort students made in the formal curriculum, the frequency of participation in the non-formal and socialization areas, and the perception of faculty modeling. The effort students made in the formal curriculum produced the highest correlations with both current spirituality and the reported change in spirituality during the seminary years. Black students ranked highest in spirituality and white students the lowest. Faculty involvement in student activities made a difference in how an activity was perceived to have influenced spirituality. Outside of the seminary experiences, some of the supportive influences and/or obstacles were found to have significant relationships to the spirituality of all M.Div. students.

Intentional spiritual emphasis in the formal and non-formal curricula, socialization, and Christian modeling of faculty enhances the spiritual growth of students. Students need to take responsibility for their own time management in order to invest enough time for regular personal devotion and in-depth study of the Word. Finally, the seminary should provide a strong community experience where fellowship among students and faculty can flourish.

Goldberg, D. S. (2016). The intersection of leadership and spirituality: A qualitative study exploring the thinking and behavioral attributes of leaders whoidentify as spiritual. Ph.D., Union Institute and University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 10173954.

While the field of leadership can trace its roots to Plato, Sun Tzu, and Machiavelli, among many others, it has become a focus of contemporary academic studies in the last 50 to 75 years. And while spirituality can trace its origins to Muhammad, Jesus, and Buddha, the exploration of the nexus of leadership and spirituality is much more recent and as a result, a limited body of knowledge exists and thus, is ripe for study.

Many challenges exist, including the fact that the study of leadership is a multidisciplinary academic field which includes a myriad of topics from a vast array of disciplines and spirituality, which are extraordinarily diverse. This study explored a set of theories and tools enabling leaders to develop and support qualities within themselves and those with whom they work and interact. Specifically, this work is a qualitative study exploring the nexus of leadership and spirituality, addressing the gap in the literature that considers this intersection, as evidenced by the Venn diagram that includes leadership, spirituality, thinking, and behavioral attributes.

While a qualitative study, the quantitative element used is Emergenetics, a 30-year-old psychometric tool that looks at the four thinking attributes of analytical, structural, conceptual, and social, and the three behaviors of expressiveness, assertiveness, and flexibility. With more than 630,000 profiles completed in 21 languages by people around the world, the universe for this study consisted of 14 one-to-one interviews and two focus groups of 14 people each, one in person and one online. The myriad of faith traditions with which the participants identified in their youth is provided. With regard to the tradition with which participants identify today, of the 42 participants, 24 identify as Science of Mind/religious Science and 18 identify with other faith traditions or no faith tradition.

The primary question was does spirituality influence leaders’ thinking and behaviors. The secondary questions included an exploration around ways spirituality influences thinking and behaviors. It also explored the questions as to spirituality informing the ways leaders can be challenging within their organizations, and if acknowledging one’s spirituality publicly helps or hinders building effective teams.

The highlights of the research include the finding that spirituality does indeed influence everything a leader does and is, whether thinking or behavior attributes, and the process of a leader’s questioning. As well, while publicly acknowledging one’s spirituality is thought to be positive, there are some confounding circumstances and those ideas are also presented.

The study also includes the group Emergenetics profiles for the two focus groups and all of the individual interviews as one profile, respectively, with an explanation as to how that informed the research.

Finally, the implications of this research to the study of leadership, the study of spirituality and leadership, and the use of the Emergenetics tool in such work is explored.

Gyuroka, T. C. (2016). What do pastors in German-speaking Europe perceive as important leadership competencies in order to be effective pastoral leaders. Ph.D., Andrews University, Dissertations. 1600.

Leadership competency models for teaching leadership to pastors in the Seventh-day Adventist Church—if used at all—usually have been adapted from business leadership models. The curricula for seminary leadership courses and continuing education programs are usually shaped by what seminary teachers or administrators deem important. Their criteria are often based on anecdotal evidence rather than on a research-based understanding of what Seventh-day Adventist pastors actually need in order to be successful leaders in their local churches. This study seeks to address this need within the Seventh-day Adventist church in German-speaking Europe, and globally by developing a competency model of pastoral leadership.

The study used a mixed-method research design. The explorative qualitative phase (phase 1) of the study worked with five focus groups. Four focus groups consisted of pastors in the Austrian Union, the German-Switzerland Conference, the North German Union, and the South German Union. An additional focus group was organized with the conference presidents of the seven German conferences. This phase resulted in a list of 104 competencies encompassing skills, abilities, personal, and spiritual characteristics.

On phase 2, a questionnaire was developed listing the 104 competencies from the qualitative phase and distributed to 311 ordained Seventh-day Adventist pastors in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland to evaluate the competencies from four different perspectives: (a) the importance of the 104 competencies for pastors generally, (b) the importance of the 104 competencies in view of one of the churches they were responsible for, (c) the frequency with which they personally used these 104 competencies in their work, and (d) their own proficiency in each of the competencies. The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson correlations coefficient, and ANOVA multiple regression analysis.

Thirty-nine of the 104 competencies from the qualitative study were rated 5.00 and above. Four of them were leadership competencies, four were management competencies, and 31 were other competencies. Few regional differences were found in the German-speaking fields except for the North German Union. Only 29.9% of the pastors rated the leadership competencies associated with the core tasks of leadership as high. In contrast they tended to attribute more importance of those competencies they used on a more frequent basis and with greater proficiency.

These results suggest the need for training in actual leadership competencies. Thus, in the final step, a leader competency model was developed to serve as a basis for adjusting the curriculum for pastoral leadership development.

The data and findings that emerged from this study showed the need to more adequately understand and teach how the basic task of leadership, which is energizing a system for change, relates to pastoral ministry. Since the leadership toolkit of pastors is still limited, a systematic leader development master plan for pastors in German-speaking Europe should be formulated together with a curriculum for reaching leadership on the basis of the leader competency model of this study.

Henson, J. D. (2015). An examination of the role of spirituality in the development of the moral component of authentic leadership through a sociorhetorical analysis of Paul’s letter to Titus. Ph.D., Regent University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 3682828.

This study examined the role of spirituality in the moral development component of authentic leadership in comparison to leadership principles found in the Epistle to Titus.

The study of moral development was drawn from literature on authentic leadership theory, spiritual leadership theory, and preexisting frameworks of moral agency, self-concept, and the stages of moral development. The exegetical process followed the methodology of sociorhetorical analysis and was interpreted for the moral, ethical, and leadership principles found in the pericope. The study yielded five themes of leadership from which 10 principles of leadership were discovered as found in Paul’s letter to Titus. It was found that the principles in Titus generally support the literature on the moral development component of authentic leadership theory. In the case when there were differences, it was found that principles of Titus expand and elevate the standards found in the literature. The study concluded that there is an intimate relationship between sacred and secular contexts, such that the moral and ethical standards of the Christian community engage the moral standards of a given social and cultural context and reconfigures them in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The 10 core values of ethical behavior discovered in Titus were compared to the constructs of authentic leadership theory, spiritual leadership theory, and the core values of spirituality, and they were found to transcend each construct. The study created a framework for the future study of the core values of morality and ethics in multiple constructs: biblical, secular, and sacred.

Koko, A. S. (2017). The role of spirituality in the leadership style of organizational leaders. Ph.D., Capella University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 10270632.

People perceive and practice spirituality in ways that are unique and personal. Studies in the field of psychology and related psychological theories have suggested that personal spirituality and human beliefs may influence behavior, leadership styles, and the day-by-day or lived experience of organizational leaders while in their leadership role. Leaders are the image of their organizations, and their role can significantly affect the profitability and success of their organization. Understanding the role that these leaders’ everyday experiences, mind state, cognition, and perception of being spiritual play in their style of leadership becomes important. The goal of this study was to investigate how organizational leaders experience and describe the role of spirituality in their leadership style. Previous studies have been mostly quantitative, and none of the qualitative studies investigated spirituality from an experiential perspective based on the interpersonal-oriented and task-oriented leadership styles. The transcendental phenomenology research design was used to investigate the essence or meaning of these leaders’ experiences regarding their spirituality and leadership style as they were currently experiencing it. The knowledge obtained from this study explained spirituality, consciousness, and cognition’s role in leadership style, which can be applied to the fields of sports, politics, organizational management, coaching, mentoring, leadership, employee recruitment, and other areas of society or within any organization where leadership performance is important. The conclusion from this study was that organizational leaders who self-identified as being spiritual demonstrated compassion when relating with their employees and others. These organizational leaders also demonstrated core ethical values, and were more interpersonal-oriented than task-oriented in their leadership style.

Nguyen, K. S. (2017). Cultural integration and the gospel in Vietnamese mission theology: A paradigm shift. Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Intercultural Studies, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 10277690.

This study argues that it is necessary to present the Christian faith in such a way that it allows the Vietnamese to follow Christ and yet remain within their Vietnamese culture. To do so, the study resonates theologically with what has already been done, and offers some relevant contributions to the Vietnamese contextualization efforts by proposing a paradigm shift in the development of a Vietnamese mission theology which requires it to be both evangelical and Vietnamese. The proposed paradigm shift seeks to narrow the gap between the way evangelical mission theology has been practiced and the Vietnamese syncretistic spirituality. Within the larger context of East Asia, the study has navigated the religio-cultural dimensions of Vietnamese spirituality that have hindered the Christian faith being assimilated into the Vietnamese spirituality. The failure of Christian missionaries to identify the simultaneous “resisting” and “assimilating” forces characteristic of Vietnamese spirituality became the reason why Christian contextualization efforts have failed. At the same time, however, it seems promising that contextualization efforts could be possible once the dual force nature of Vietnamese spirituality is recognized, that is, identifying what needs to be resisted and what are the crucial religio-cultural elements or concepts needing to be assimilated. This nature would serve as the lens through which the contextualization processes would review the essential elements of Vietnamese spirituality which can be redeemed for evangelical Christian beliefs and practices, for instance, the concept of God the Dao (the Way) and the Vietnamese extended family perspective for both the trinitarian relationship and the Vietnamese Christian community of both living people and ancestors. A Vietnamese mission theology must begin with the Vietnamese concept of God the Dao. Acknowledging that the Dao is Christ, the incarnate God, is the key to unlocking the problem of believing in a God who is alien and strange to the Vietnamese. Any attempt at Christian contextualization in Vietnam, therefore, cannot overlook the dual forces of “resisting and assimilating,” and the nature of the Dao of Vietnamese spirituality.

Washington, K. S. (2016). Spiritual leadership in religious organizations: A grounded theory study. Psy.D., The University of the Rockies, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 10013592.

Research has not yet identified one specific style or set of characteristics that represents overall leadership effectiveness among Christian pastors. This grounded theory qualitative study examined spiritual leadership in religious organizations in order to develop a theoretical model of effective leadership for pastors. The use of grounded theory design was appropriate in order to develop a new theory on pastoral effectiveness, grounded in the data collected from pastors and their congregation members. Twenty pastors and 20 congregational members of various nondenominational Christian churches throughout San Diego county were selected as participants. The data was obtained by querying the perceptions of the pastors and congregation members through the use of an open-ended electronic questionnaire. To ensure the accuracy of coding, data collected through the questionnaires was downloaded into NVivo10 qualitative data analysis software to uncover and analyze trends. The results of this study suggested the presence of five themes related to pastoral effectiveness in non-denominational Christian churches: (a) communication; (b) personal development; (c) business acumen; (d) religious practices; and (e) relationships. A key finding of the present study pointed to the integration of spiritual leadership theory and transformational leadership theory for use in religious organizations. The integration of the components of the two leadership theories may provide pastors with a means and common framework for understanding the process of leadership effectiveness.

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