Leadership Patterns in Growing Churches of Christ

Publication Date



The problem addressed in this dissertation is Leadership Patterns in Growing Churches of Christ. The churches studied are located in the contemporary society of North America. In Part I, I study the biblical, historical and contemporary context of the Churches of Christ. Part II, presents the research methodology and findings. Part III gives the meaning of leadership and ministry patterns, present a model for ministry, and make recommendations.

The research methodology used grounded theory within qualitative methods to collect and analyze data to develop a model of ministry for the contemporary society. This included one-thousand surveys among the laity of the Churches of Christ, interviews among church leaders, and participation observation among the congregations. Grounded theory analysis yielded patterns of leadership and ministry in growing Churches of Christ. A review of literature will provide information necessary for the theoretical foundations of the research.

The goal of this study is to recommend a model for change in patterns of leadership and ministry to do the mission of the church, disciple and connect people to Christ, and serve the needs of people in the contemporary context of North America in order for the church to grow spontaneously as God intended in the New Testament.

Patterns of leadership effective for growing churches which emerged from my findings are as follows: the leadership style is shepherding, worship is a celebration of Christ, God rules the hearts of believers, preaching is conversational, relationships with God and other laity is maintained in equipping ministries, ministry is by small groups, and discipleship is developed by family and youth ministry.

I concluded that growing Churches of Christ are balanced in biblical theology while using progressive methodology in ministry and practicing Christianity. The style of leadership effective in these growing churches is a people-based shepherding style involving the laity by delegating those roles in ministry. It is also significant that these growing churches also have the laity involved in relational evangelism and small team ministry.

Mentor: Elizabeth L. Glanville

Degree Name

Doctor of Missiology (DMiss)

First Advisor

Glanville, Elizabeth L.

Document Type





Christian leadership, Church growth, Churches of Christ


Missions and World Christianity


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