Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Christina Spoons


Churches contribute both indirectly and directly to community economic development and social transformation. Some researchers cite lack of leadership as a factor in Christian churches in the United States experiencing declining attendance, with many churches closing. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which a senior pastor's past and current church leadership experience affects servant leadership practices in the pastor's current church. Servant leadership theory was this quantitative, correlational study's theoretical framework. Five research questions focused on a pastor's past and present church leadership experience and how it affects the servant leadership practices within the organization's leadership. Forty-six leaders from 6 church organizations took the Organizational Leadership Assessment (OLA). Individual church OLA scores were calculated and then analyzed using correlation and moderation analysis against each pastor's past and present experience. Findings did not indicate any statistically significant relationship between a pastor's past or present leadership experience and servant leadership practices within the church. Additional research using is recommended, as statistics did show trends indicating some statistical significance may be uncovered with a larger sample size. Findings could enhance social change initiatives by identifying which church organizational servant leadership aspects emerge early in a pastor's tenure as opposed to those aspects which emerge after more time, experience, and training. This study will benefit church and not-for-profit leaders by providing a better understanding of how a leader's work experience affects organizational leadership behaviors.