The links between leadership qualities and functions and local church growth within an Anglican context: a case study approach

Jones, Christopher Ian (2018) The links between leadership qualities and functions and local church growth within an Anglican context: a case study approach. Masters dissertation, University of Cumbria (awarded by Lancaster University). Item availability may be restricted.

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Engaging with a limited number of churches, set within one Northern diocese, this research explored the possibility of identifying a set of leadership qualities and functions for church growth within the context of the Anglican Church. I will consider a range of significant, influential and popular literature surrounding the current leadership discussion and debate from which it draws out and presents the research hypothesis, research question and subsequent interview questions. The data were drawn from clergy and laity from eleven churches within three benefices within the same diocese, and were representative of a range of social and congregational contexts common within that diocese. The data collection was via blind questionnaire and participant interviews, creating a rich data source for exploring views, opinions and perceptions regarding necessary leadership qualities and functions and the effectiveness, or not, of formally structured growth programmes. Throughout, I constantly sought to identify potential connections between both the impact of the identified qualities and functions upon church growth, and also the impact of such growth programmes upon the development, or otherwise, of these qualities and functions. Researcher bias was identified and acknowledged throughout, ensuring, to the best of the researcher’s ability, the integrity, validity and reliability of both data and final outcomes. The research presents primary and secondary qualities and functions drawn from the data analysis and considered important for the positive leading and growth of congregations, including an articulation of the differences between secular and religious accounts of leadership. I also seek to identify and acknowledge the boundaries and limitations of the research. At the outset I recognise and acknowledge the results and conclusions are drawn from a limited research field and derived primarily from the interpretation of individual experiences. Although acknowledging the research field could be considered as representative of churches across the wider diocese where the research was carried out, I recognise the chosen churches are not necessarily representative of the broad range of churches across the Church of England nationally. I also explore the perception of structured growth programmes such as Mission Action Planning, offering an alternative understanding to church growth, moving it away from the predominantly numerical toward embracing a more missional perspective. Reflecting upon the data analysis, this research offers insights into how the limited findings might contribute to the wider debate surrounding leaders and leadership within the Church of England. Finally, a number of potential areas of further research are highlighted. These include the training of future leaders, developing a more robust theology of the laity and the question of managing church closure.

Item Type: Thesis/Dissertation (Masters)
Departments: Academic Departments > Institute of Arts (IOA) > Humanities
Additional Information: A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of The University of Lancaster for the degree of Master of Philosophy.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2018 12:16
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 19:02
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