Pastoral burnout and leadership styles: A mixed-methods study of Southern Baptist pastors in Central Florida

by Exantus, Wall Ruben, Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2011, 133 pages; 3443660


This study examined the factors that contribute to stress, burnout, and turnover among Southern Baptist pastors of Central Florida. The purpose of this study was to identify the factors and provide perceptions that stress, burnout, and leadership incompetence may be a pathway leading to ministry turnover in the Southern Baptist organization. The problem is that pastors are burned out due to lack of information about the factors causing their stress; and insufficient leadership skills leading to ministry turnover. The research questions that guided the study were (a) What are the possible factors that influence pastoral burnout? (b) In what ways do these factors influence ministerial turnover? (c) How do pastors' leadership styles relate to pastoral burnout? (d) What are the differences between pastors' transformational, transactional, or laissez-faire leadership styles with respect to pastoral burnout? Previous research, such as McKenna, Yost, and Boyd's (2007) Leadership Development and Clergy: Understanding the Events and Lessons that Shape Pastoral Leaders and Murphy's (2002) Statistics About Pastors, indicated that pastors' overwhelming responsibilities, lack of a support system, cooperation, and their own personal factors tend to put them under a great deal of pressure and adversity (McKenna, Yost, & Boyd, 2007; Murphy, 2002). This mixed method study focused on perceptions of 12 senior pastors who were interviewed and 32 others surveyed utilizing the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) and a burnout inventory developed by this researcher. Data display and coding were utilized to draw conclusions and analyze collected qualitative data; correlation and ANOVA were used to determine the statistical difference between groups and subscales of the MLQ. A significant relationship was found between job dissatisfaction (50%) and feelings of personal accomplishment. Evidence of this study indicated that the transformational and transactional leadership styles may help pastors avoid burnout. Pastors who are more inclined to exhibit transformational and transactional leadership styles have lower levels of burnout than those who are more inclined to practice laissez-faire leadership style.

AdviserLilburn Hoehn
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsReligion; Clergy; Management; Occupational psychology
Publication Number3443660

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