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Teresa Lao


Even though millions of Americans attend church, church worship practices have declined in recent years. Also, church leaders lack understanding of transformational, transactional, laissez-faire, and servant leadership styles and their potential to promote the growth of church membership. Gaps exist in the literature regarding the connection between development and efficacy, organizations and outcomes, and church leaders' styles and church membership growth. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the perception of church leaders (pastors, deacons, ministers) and members of congregations regarding leadership styles and how the implementation of those styles influences the growth of church membership. The conceptual framework of this study was Bass's full-range leadership theory and Greenleaf's servant leadership theory. The data collection methods were semistructured, face-to-face interviews with 40 church leaders and members of 4 congregations, a focus group interview with 5 of those participants, and review of church documents. Transcript review and triangulation increased the credibility and trustworthiness of the data. Thematic analysis was used in data analysis. Data analysis yielded 12 themes: ideal church leadership styles, church leadership management, church leadership motivation, leadership that ensures church growth, effective leadership communication, leadership practices, developing leaders, perceptions of leadership, church attendance growth and decline rates, leaders' roles, church administrator's handbook, and vision and mission statements. The findings of this research may influence social change for leaders of Pentecostal churches who function as leadership mentors and believers within their church environment.

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