Review of Religious Research

, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 575–585 | Cite as

Pastoral Leadership and Congregational Vitality

  • Jason WollschlegerEmail author
Research Note


This research note presents unexpected findings on the role of pastoral leadership styles on congregational vitality. Drawn from a most-similar case study of two mainline congregations, one that has experience growth and vitality the other significant decline, the results indicate that leadership style is an under-studied contributing factor in congregational vitality. The findings demonstrate that pastoral style that is collaborative but decisive, as well as inspiring has a positive impact on congregational vitality; whereas a pastoral style that is more hands-off, seeking to empower lay decision making has a negative impact.

Keywords Clergy Pastoral leadership Congregational Vitality Congregational Studies 



The author would like to thank Steve Pfaff, James Wellman, Anthony Gill, and James Felak for their comments. However, all errors of fact and omission are those of the author.


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Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyWhitworth UniversitySpokaneUSA

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