Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Cassandra Caldwell


As the poverty rate continues to rise, many individuals seek assistance to help meet basic needs. Previous research has indicated that churches provide a social safety net for those in need, yet some churches choose not to become human service providers. The purpose of this multicase study was to explore how pastoral transformational leadership influences a church's decision to become a provider of human services among African American pastors and churches. Transformational leadership provided the theoretical framework for this study. The purposeful sample included bounded systems of 5 pastors and their respective churches. Each case was bound by race, location, and denomination. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire was used as a tool to identify each pastor's leadership style, and interviews were used to determine how the church becomes a human service provider. Interviews were transcribed, inductively coded, and analyzed to identify recurring themes. The results of this research indicated that the transformational pastor is influential in all aspects of the church's human service initiatives. The transformational pastor plays a key role in determining whether the church becomes involved in human service initiatives, and he or she remains involved throughout initiation, implementation, and sustainability. Findings from this study may influence pastoral leadership training and provide a framework for churches and communities who wish to help meet the social needs in their communities. If churches consistently address poverty-related issues, they can address the underlying problems associated with it. This can result in a decrease in the poverty rate over time. This contribution can potentially help decrease the rate of poverty in the community.