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In light of the increasing conflict and uncertainty in many Australian Churches of Christ congregations, this dissertation asserts that pastoral and lay leaders must proactively create and transform team leadership boards to promote emotional, spiritual, and systemic health.

Over the last two decades, leaders within eldership teams have lacked the impetus or opportunities to self-learn and develop healthy team dynamics. This trend has in part created an environment of complacency and minimal peer team learning, thereby hampering continuous improvement in leadership practice and culture. Churches of Christ congregational leaders seem to be stuck or ambivalent in their positional status, sometimes impervious to the cultural context, mission and discipleship priorities, and wider psychological and leadership advances.

Inactivity in leadership learning creates inherent functional problems in individuals and teams. Often polarization occurs, generating conflict between paid ministry staff and boards of elders that precipitates low trust and emotional chaos. This scenario must be addressed and redressed to ensure that appropriate awareness and learning stimulates new behaviors, attitudes, and opportunities for ongoing personal transformation, adaptability, and team growth.

This dissertation advocates ongoing transformational leadership development as personal and shared responsibility and practice for congregational leaders, in response to the escalating frequency of conflict in churches.

The goal of this dissertation is to present a more holistic model for team-based church leadership that establishes learning from the process of spiritual transformation, the construct of emotional attachment, and the field of systems theory. Pivotal to this study is a primary awareness that congregational leadership is a shared responsibility, where the onus resides within a leadership team to monitor and proactively cultivate an environment of emotional, spiritual, and systemic health.

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Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

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Churches of Christ (Australia); Christian leadership; Leadership; Spiritual formation


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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