Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2014 Volume 10 :: Article 5
2014 Volume 10, Article 5
The Use of Servant Leadership in the United Methodist Church

Author: Jessica Dearth (Regent University) and G. R. Bud West (Regent University)

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ABSTRACT

For over a decade, the United Methodist Church has directed that throughout the organization, individuals who serve in positions of authority should lead through the use of servant leadership. By surveying over 300 United Methodist congregants and over 300 United Methodist pastors, using Barbuto and Wheeler’s servant leadership instrument, we measured the perceptions of the observed leadership behaviors of both groups of responders and considered the differences between them. Through the use of descriptive statistics, congregants rated pastors at or below the median average (at or below 3 on a five-point Likert-type scale) in four of the five categories defined by Barbuto and Wheeler. Results of t-test and regression analyses also revealed that (1) congregants perceive that pastors generally apply greater levels of servant leadership to themselves than the congregants do, (2) pastors generally apply greater levels of servant leadership to themselves than the congregants perceive about themselves, (3) congregants perceive that pastors generally apply the same levels of servant leadership to themselves that the pastors themselves perceive that they do, and (4) a positive linear relationship exists between congregants’ perceptions of their pastors as servant leaders and perceptions of themselves as servant leaders.

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