The purpose of this exploratory phenomenological study was to understand the ways in which priests in thriving Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America parishes influence the development and quality of life of their parishes. The study found that thriving parishes are those that exemplify church ministry in terms of worship, evangelism, Christian education, fellowship, stewardship, commitment to service and outreach, and effectiveness of administration. The study also found that a characteristic of thriving parishes is that their priests inspire and motivate their parishioners by being authoritative, empowering, inclusive, dynamic, and humble leaders and role models who create an environment in which it is emphasized that the Church is not the end but the means to the end, and who preach that what is important is not what the parish is but what the parish does. It was found that priests of thriving parishes have a laser-sharp focus on youth and converts to Orthodoxy as the basis of the future growth of the Church. Lastly, the study found that priests in thriving parishes are servants who received a calling from God to serve the needs of their flock tirelessly and unselfishly, and to prepare them to receive the Holy Spirit toward the ultimate goal of salvation. The findings of this study contribute knowledge toward enhancing the Church's clergy leadership development and effectiveness, and toward improving the development and community life of its parishes.
|Adviser||Shelley R. Robbins|
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