Commentary by Prof. B: The following is an introduction (with at the end an opportunity to download the complete article) to Butler and Herman’s seminal research on behaviors and traits that lead to ministerial effectiveness. I have summarized the results for churches in an article I penned based upon Butler and Herman’s research here: LEADERSHIP TRAITS & Research Offers Alternative List of the 12 Qualities of Effective Leaders. Here is the introduction to the original Butler and Herman research.
Finding Effective Pastors
Introduction by D. Martin Butler, Ph.D.
My doctoral dissertation was written on the topic of ministerial effectiveness. Although the research is now more than a decade old, it still reflects the core values of a post-modern world. Many of the eleven competencies reflect post-modern ideals such as servanthood, shepherding, visioning, multi-talking, etc. The instruments used in the study have continued to be utilized in various leadership situations and continue to show validity for predicting leadership effectiveness. Most notable, the religious instrument used was based upon work done by the Association of Theological Schools. As recently as 2002-2004 the conceptual framework of the Profiles of Ministry was re-visited and the characteristics expected of ministers reflected in that instrument were overwhelmingly endorsed by laity and clergy alike. It is impossible to know if a study made of Nazarene pastors today would yield exactly the same eleven competencies spelled out below, but neither has evidence surfaced from any research that renders the results invalid for the 21st century Church.
I won’t bore you with asking that you read then entire dissertation, but the following is a copyrighted article I co-authored with my research advisor. It was printed in a journal entitled Nonprofit Management and Leadership. I include it below for your educational benefit, but remind you that it is copyrighted by the journal and should not be reproduced.
What you will read below is a summary of my research. The bottom line is that I discovered key laypersons in Nazarene churches were looking for certain leadership competencies in their pastors. Those eleven competencies become the focal point of the remainder of the course. The article is a bit “dry” because it was written for a scholarly publication, but I hope you catch the essence of my research.
Ministers of local congregations are in positions somewhat similar to the chief executives of other local nonprofit organizations, except that ministers are also expected to respond to the specifically religious needs of their congregants. In this research we assess how especially effective ministers in one denomination differ from less effective ministers in both general leadership skills and specifically religious leadership skills.
The especially effective ministers were identified by applying three selection methods, resulting in an unusually careful selection of a sample of especially effective leaders. The results show that the especially effective are more skillful managers, problem solvers, planners, delegaters, change agents, shepherds, inspirers, multi-taskers, students, servants and demonstrate themselves to be persons of integrity…
Read more in the article, Effective Ministerial Leadership,
- Available from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/nml.9302/full.
- If you are planning to hire a pastor, this research would be well worth the small cost to purchase.
If you are a Wesley Seminary student, Off Campus Library Services can provide this to you free of charge.