Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
This research is a descriptive study of current long tenure pastors in a sampling of Canadian churches practising a congregational form of governance. The purpose of the study was to determine if there are common psychological and relational characteristics possessed by long tenure pastors, and secondly, if there are common factors considered important by those pastors in the achievement of their long tenures. The value of the research lies in the potential application of strengths or other features found in these experienced pastors for facilitating healthier tenures that do not end in unplanned resignations or forced terminations. Thought concerning long tenures, their desirability and the difficulty in achieving long tenure was explored. Theological and biblical bases were identified for appreciating a commitment to sustained relationship in ministry tenures, as determined through an examination of personhood, community and suffering. The sample population of fifty-one current long tenure pastors completed four qualitative questions and a Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis through an online website. Responses from the study sample indicated a strong emphasis from pastors on the quality and care of relationships. As a group, the pastors displayed good personal and interpersonal adjustment. Their level of personal composure was excellent. Levels of enthusiasm, emotional expressiveness, and compassion were good. Fair-minded thinking, personal confidence, tolerance for others and good self-discipline yielded strong scores. Destructive relating styles were absent from this group. On an individual basis, both pastors with sound adjustment, and some with less sound adjustment demonstrated characteristics intent on maintaining relationships. The long tenure pastors in this study presented an awareness of the importance of relationships in their ministry. They articulated a commitment to sustained relationships in their responses. They demonstrated that commitment in their distinguished track record of long and consistently increasing lengths of tenure. Finally, they evidenced personal qualities favourable to establishing and maintaining relationships. The research may be important in forming a fresh perspective on relationships and conflict in ministry, and for considering a greater emphasis on relational values in ministerial education and practice.
Mcnaughton, Donald C., "Pastors with staying power: identifying psychological and relational descriptors of long tenure pastors" (2005). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7068.
McMaster University Library