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An examination of systemic gaps in the preparation of Sunday school teachers in the Church of the Nazarene

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Title:
An examination of systemic gaps in the preparation of Sunday school teachers in the Church of the Nazarene
Creator:
Thomas, Cheryl Sue
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
236 leaves : ; 28 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Christian teachers -- Training of ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 227-236).
Thesis:
Educational leadership and innovation
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Cheryl Sue Thomas.

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Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
57707865 ( OCLC )
ocm57707865
Classification:
LD1190.E3 2004d T46 ( lcc )

Full Text
AN EXAMINATION OF SYSTEMIC GAPS
IN THE PREPARATION OF SUNDAY SCHOOL
TEACHERS IN THE CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE
by
Cheryl Sue Thomas
B. S., Western Michigan University, 1978
M. A., Western Michigan University, 1981
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
2004
r~-


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
Degree by
Cheryl Sue Thomas
Has been approved
By
Rodney Muth
Date


Thomas, Cheryl Sue (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
An Examination of Systemic Gaps in the Preparation of Sunday School Teachers in
the Church of the Nazarene
Thesis directed by Professor Rodney Muth
ABSTRACT
This study examines systemic gaps in the preparation and equipping of
Church of the Nazarene Sunday school teachers to fulfill their role as front-line
workers responsible for much of the spiritual growth of the congregation. However,
gaps appeared to exist between the designated responsibilities and the training of
those lay workers to fulfill them.
Three areas were studied as background: (a) systems theory and learning
organizations, (b) leadership, and (c) teacher professional development. The three
Church of the Nazarene districts in Michigan served as the population for the study
because they were deemed to be economically and socially representative for the
Church in North America.
The main question of the study was, Is the professional development of lay
Sunday school teachers appropriate, in terms of concepts, context, and delivery
systems, to the role that they are expected to play in the continuous building of the
Church of the Nazarene? Four sub-questions were developed and guided the research:
(a) What contextual issues should be addressed in a model of professional
111


development for Church of the Nazarene Sunday school teachers? (b) What content
issues should be addressed in a model of professional development for Church of the
Nazarene Sunday school teacher? (c) How can the delivery of this model be
facilitated by church leaders? (d) How can the organizational design of our churches
facilitate professional development of Sunday school teachers, and thus, our culture?
Multiple sources of data informed this exploratory study and included survey
results from Sunday school teachers and superintendents, content analysis of Teach
2000 conference materials, and results from two rounds of a Delphi process. A model
to facilitate the preparation of Nazarene Sunday school teachers was developed from
these data.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Signed
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis first and foremost to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and also
to you, Richard, for holding me and cheering me through this ordeal.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
My thanks go to God who guided and sustained me through this process when
I felt so alone. I also wish to thank my advisor, Rodney Muth, for his
unrelenting patience with and support of me during these past five years. Ken
Crow provided special support with stimulating discussions of the issues,
encouragement, and prayer support. Members of my committee, Nadyne
Guzman and Cherie Lyons, provided guidance as they opened my eyes in the
areas of study. And special thanks to the staff of the Graduate School for their
support and assistanceespecially after I moved 1,500 miles from the
University.


CONTENTS
Figures......................................................xii
Tables......................................................xiii
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION...................................................1
Concepts of Christian Education................................2
Background Concepts.........................................4
Methodologies of Christian Education........................5
Theological Foundations of Christian Education..............7
Curricular Foundations of Christian Education...............8
Christian Education in the Church of the Nazarene..............8
Background of the Problem.....................................10
Theoretical Framework.........................................13
Systems Thinking...........................................15
Leadership and Professional Development....................17
Study Focus...................................................20
Methodology...................................................21
Structure of the Dissertation.................................22
2. SYSTEMS WITHIN CHRISTIAN LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS.... 24
Systems and Organizations.....................................24
Vll


Structure of the Church of the Nazarene
30
Parallel Structures............................................32
Christian Organizations as Systems................................33
Learning Organizations............................................35
Churches as Learning Organizations.............................36
3. SYSTEMS OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND THEIR
APPLICATIONS TO CHRISTIAN EDUCATION IN THE CHURCH..40
Definition of Professional Development............................43
Three Components of Professional Development......................44
Content of Professional Development............................44
Delivery of Professonal Development............................45
Context of Professional Development............................46
Delivery Systems..................................................47
Induction Programs.............................................48
Mentoring......................................................49
Program Evaluation................................................52
Role of Professional Development in the Church....................53
4. LEADERSHIP IN CHRISTIAN LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS....................57
Why are Leaders Important?........................................57
Definitions and Components of Leadership..........................59
viii


Group.......................................................63
Relational Process..........................................64
Influence...................................................65
Motivation..................................................67
Intended Changes............................................67
Who are the Leaders?...........................................69
Functional Competencies of Leadership.......................70
Spirituality in Leadership.....................................75
5. METHODOLOGY....................................................78
Validity Issues................................................79
Design.........................................................79
Subjects.......................................................80
Data CollectionStage One: Surveys.............................82
Data CollectionStage Two: Content Analysis....................85
Data CollectionStage Three: Delphi Process....................88
Analysis of Data...............................................91
Analysis of Stage One Surveys...............................92
Content Analysis............................................92
Analysis of the Delphi Process Information..................93
6. DATA ANALYSIS..................................................96
IX


Teach 2000 Content Analysis
96
Teach 2000 Systems Theory/Leaming Organizations Concepts..98
Teach 2000 Sunday School Teacher Development Concepts.....102
Teach 2000 Leadership Concepts............................111
Sunday School Teacher and Superintendent Surveys Analysis....115
Analysis of Survey Data...................................118
Report of Personal Experiences as a Sunday School Teacher.130
Teacher Training Preferences..............................131
Delphi Panel Process.........................................135
Round One Delphi Process..................................136
Delphi Round Two Process..................................137
Summary of Delphi Round Two Results.......................141
7. REFLECTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS..................................150
Systems Theory and Churches as Learning Organizations............150
Leadership within Sunday School..................................153
Reflections on the Data..........................................155
Reflections on the Research Process..............................159
Recommendations Related to Research..............................160
Recommendations to the Church of the Nazarene
The Proposed Model...............................................161
x


APPENDIX
A. Preliminary Coding Matrix.................................165
B. Sunday School Teacher Survey..............................166
C. Sunday School Superintendent Survey.......................169
D. Summary of Initial Survey Open-ended Reponses..............172
E. Sunday School Teacher/Superintendent Survey Consent Form..174
F. Delphi Participant Consent Form...........................175
G. Teach 2000 Workshop Sessions..............................177
H. Delphi Round One Survey...................................178
I. Delphi Round Two Questionnaire............................184
J. Delphi Round Two Summary of Responses and
Verbatim Strengths and Weaknesses..........................207
REFERENCES........................................................227
xi


FIGURES
Figure
6.1 Composition of the Delphi Panel................................138
6.2 Sample of Delphi Round One Questionnaire.......................139
xii


TABLES
Table
5.1 Demographic Data for Church of the Nazarene Michigan Districts... 81
5.2 Initial Surveys Sent and Received...............................84
5.3 Survey Questions Derived from Benson and Elkin, 1990...........86
5.4 Feasibility/Desirablity Scale...................................95
6.1 Distribution of Sunday School Teachers and Superintendents Survey 117
6.2 Summary of Usable Sunday School Teacher and
Superintendent Surveys Returned by District....................119
6.3 Means of Responses for Teacher Training Issues.................121
6.4 Means of Responses for Pastoral Involvement....................125
6.5 Mean Responses to Evaluation Issue.............................126
6.6 Percent of Respondents Who Agree or Strongly Agree that
Sunday School Teachers are Recognized in Worship Service.......128
6.7 Mean Scores of Content Emphasis on Multi-Cultural Awareness and
Understanding, Moral Decision Making, and Global Awareness
and Understanding..............................................130
6.8 Mean Scores of Teacher Responses to Personal Teacher Training... 132
6.9 Stated Preferred Teacher Training Deliveries...................133
6.10 Summary of First Round Delphi Reponses.........................140
xiii


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Investigating the process of laity training within the Church of the Nazarene
is of vital importance to the denomination because of an apparent shortage of
trained lay leadersespecially Sunday School teachers. As affirmed by district
superintendents (Clarence Hildreth, personal communication, March 22, 2000;
Laurel Madsen, personal communication, February 8, 2000), church leaders tend to
look around our congregations for anyone who loves the Lord and has a deep desire
to serve Him. Then they draft em and dodge 'em, That is, Sunday School
teachers are drafted out of the pews and into service within the congregation, even
though they may have neither the gifts, nor the heart, nor the preparation for that
particular ministry. Then, the leaders leave these teachers to their own devices for
the next few years, offering little or no training in, assistance during or relief from
that particular ministry. Meanwhile, leaders stand by, watching these servants
thrash around and eventually sink in the whitewater that has been created. The
layman becomes exhausted and often will leave the congregation, beaten and
scarred. And leaders wonder why the congregation neither grows nor flourishes.
Indeed, the Effective Christian Education study (Benson & Elkin, 1990) of
five mainline Protestant churches in the U.S., and the seminal work in the field,
identified Sunday School as a source of frustration among church leaders. One
1


finding of the study found that only 34 percent of teachers of youths and 44 percent
of teachers for adults know educational theory and practice for their age group
(Roehlkepartain, 1993, p. 31). To complicate matters, these teachers are left to their
own devices to learn more about teaching, often finding it outside of the church.
Inadequate training and support from their church leaders also seems to sanction
their choosing their own resources and materials. The materials thus selected may or
may not be based on sound educational theory and may or may not support the
theology of the denomination (Roehlkepartain, 1993). This process then seems to
promote what Dr. Laurel Matson calls the heresy being delivered in our Sunday
Schools (personal communication, February 8, 2000).
The paradox of this situation lies in the fact that 99 percent of mainline
Protestant churches offer Sunday School for children from the ages of kindergarten
through the sixth grade. Additionally, most denominations assume that Sunday
School nurtures a vibrant, life-changing faith, the kind of faith that shapes ones
way of being, thinking, and acting (Benson & Eklin, 1990, p. 9).
Concepts of Christian Education
Prior to the 1980s, Sunday School was a pre-eminent function of
denominations (Drury, www.indwes.edu/Tuesday/ss_14.htm). However, for several
reasons it has lost its allure and popularity. Among the explanations for this decline
that Drury cites in this work is ineffective teaching. In fact, he identifies remedies
2


for Christian education in the return of the lay Bible teachera sophisticated,
educated professional layperson that will commit to teaching, and who will be
unsatisfied to teach poorly. And while the Sunday School teacher is called upon to
creatively combine and integrate insights from various disciplines in the thought
and practice of education (Pazmino, 1997, p. 13), it appears little preparation or
thought is given to this activity.
A vision for Sunday School teachers is supported by the Effective Christian
Education study (Benson & Eklin, 1990). This seminal research found that while 79
percent of Sunday School teachers in mainline U. S. congregations received some
form of inservice annually, only 53 percent received instruction in effective teaching
methods while 21 percent received instruction in denominational theology and
traditions. Yet the teachers who were surveyed voiced interest in comprehensive
education: (a) 53 percent requested help with teaching techniques, (b) 52 percent
wanted help finding better curriculum materials, (c) 50 percent desired to learn
theology, history and traditions, (d) 50 percent wished to learn how to evaluate their
teaching, (e) 45 percent wanted more discussion about Christian education with
other teachers, and (f) 44 percent asked for more teacher training events. Sunday
School teachers, it seems, are not dissimilar from their secular counterparts.
3


Background Concepts
Looking into the Old Testament, one can find several mandates for
education. In Deuteronomy, the people of Israel are admonished to remember Gods
role in their history (Pazmino, 1997), guiding them to relate everything in their lives
to God. Pazmino gives a full description of this process-beginning with the
mandate to the Israelites to pass on the commandments to future generations, and to
understand, grow in, and obey Gods revealed Word (p. 20). While this mandate
pertained to parents as well as to the priests whose responsibility was to teach the
laws and religious practices in the Temple, it also alludes to the fact that wherever
the community of God gathers, opportunities for Christian education exist
(Pazmino).
This tradition, as well as the mandate, continues into the New Testament
when Jesus provided this agenda for His disciples when He said, Go therefore and
make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have
commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age
(Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV). These challenges then cause Christians to question
whether or not our churches are nurturing believers and teaching what Jesus taught
modeling His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount recounted in Matthew 5:1-7:27.
By studying this sermon, a New Testament model for Christian education is
revealed. This model includes a sharing the Christian vision, the Christian mission,
4


and Christian memoryincluding local, denominational, and biblical history
(Pazmino, 1997).
Methodologies of Christian Education
Jesus example as a teacher demonstrates several methods that can be
successfully adopted by modern-day Christian educators. Pazmino (1997) expounds
methods used by Jesushow he taught with authority, he used truth to convince his
students, he encouraged students to think for themselves, he lived his life as an
example for them, and how he loved those who sat under his teaching.
In the Apostle Pauls ministry, one sees evidence that Christian Education
must be Christ-centered rather than focusing on human traditions and worldly
principles (Pazmino, 1994). In order to fulfill this mission, Paul urged the Christians
in Colossus to live lives worthy of Christ with evidence of such worthiness being
visible in the fruits their lives bore. Additionally, Paul exhorted early Christians to
be relationally minded and to maintain a standard of truth that God provided in the
Scriptures and in the earthly example of Christ. Then, in 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul stresses
that Christians are to be prepared and equipped to teach others (Pazmino, 1994).
Looking further into Christian Education as defined in the scriptures, five
educational tasks for the church are articulated: (a) Education for and of
proclamation, (b) education for and of community, (c) education for and of service,
and (d) education for and of advocacy, and (e) education for worship (Hill, 1976).
Pazmino explains these five tasks as follows. Education for proclamation involves
5


teaching and preaching the gospel through evangelistic endeavors; whereas,
education of proclamation designates that witness given through ones words and
deeds. Education for community includes the training, instruction, and nurturing
needed to help people mature in their faith; this training includes emphasizing the
passing on of denominational cultures. To provide education of community is to
include values and beliefs through the shared life of a spiritual community.
Looking to the third task, education for services is the required training that
fits those in the church for service within the local church. This task allows
Christians to be transformed by Christ in addition to their renewal in terms of
culture, values, beliefs and attitudes. To adopt the belief that churches are learning
organizations, education for service provides opportunities of reciprocal learning
among the participants of occasions.
Advocacy also has two educational facets. Education for advocacy helps
Christians advocate for concerns that fulfill Gods process on this earth while
helping them to crystallize their perspectives on Gods purposes in their current
earthly situation. Conversely, education for and of advocacy also includes
acculturation, helping affirm ones place in and becoming a responsible participant
in a Christian culture. Another part of advocacy education is disenculturation, which
enables Christians to put God and His kingdom above any other culture in which
one might be involved.
6


Finally, education for worship is actually embedded in, and Pazmino sees it
as the hub, or the center point of the four previously discussed tasks. It invites one to
celebrate Gods presence in their lives and calls them to sacrifice their lives for His
service.
Theological Foundations of Christian Education
According to Little (1983), five possible relationships are present between
theology and Christian education. First to be decided is the content to be taught. For
denominations, the theological content is reflected in curricular materials published
in-house. Next comes the realization that theology becomes the foundation for the
methodology used as well as for the analysis and evaluation of the Christian
education program. However, Little sees Christian education as being autonomous,
yet she views Christian education as the doing of theology. Finally, the two,
Christian education and theology, are mutually and collegially engaged in the
ongoing work of Gods kingdom (Pazmino, 1994, p. 62).
Using these as a backdrop, Groome (1980) posed six questions that help hold all
educational factors together. These questions are:
1. What is the nature of Christian education: (nature and content)
2. Why is Christian education essential? (purposes)
3. Where is Christian education undertaken? (context)
4. How is Christian education conducted: (methods)
7


5. When is it appropriate to share particular Christian truths and experiences?
(readiness?
6. Who is interacting in Christian education? (relationships) (p. xiv).
Curricular Foundations of Christian Education
By accepting the definition of curriculum as that content made available to
students and their actual learning experiences guided by a teacher (Pazmino, 1994,
p. 224), then the responsibility for planning, implementation, and evaluating
teaching of chosen content falls on the teacher. Furthermore, drawing on the works
of Comenius and Dewey, LeBar observes that Christian content without experience
is empty and that experience without content is blind (LeBar, 1981, p. 211).
Therefore, it becomes a teachers responsibility to connect the experiences of her/his
students to the content in order to effect potentially life transforming change
(Pazmino, 1994). It is here that attention to Groomes questions becomes vital. And
over all, one must be consciously seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit.
Christian Education in the Church of the Nazarene
For the Church of the Nazarene, the philosophy of Sunday School includes
components of Bible study, fellowship and outreach (Welch, 1994). In the
denominations seminal work, Exploring Christian Education, edited by Sanner and
Harper (1978), the authors call for Christian education in order that one might
8


receive, understand, and transmit and nurture those to whom he/she might
minister (p. 9). In order to do this, Christian educators are called to master the
psychology of learning (p. 10) in order that they might effectively promote the
Christian faith. This position required that competent professional leadership and
for qualified lay leaders would be available (p. 11). These authors espoused the use
of sound general educational practices as long as they were used to reinforce
Christian theology. This work called, and continues to call, for the transmission of
the denominations Christian heritage that is found first in the Scriptures and then in
Christian history and theology. These principles are set forth in the following
definition of Christian education:
Christian education may, then, be defined as one of the essential
ministries of the church (ecclesia), by means of which the fellowship
(koinonia) of believers seeks: (1) to prepare all learners to receive the
power of the gospel in conversion and entire sanctification; (2) to
inspire and lead them to experience personal growth in the Christian
graces and in the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus; and (3) to
assist them in preparing for and finding a place of productive service
in the Body of Christ and in the world outside the Church, (p. 19)
From its earliest inception, Bible study has been viewed as a nurturing
activity that requires logical and systematic materials (Welch, 1994). Through the
years, the Nazarene denominations various Sunday School leaders have endorsed
educational methodologies and active student participation. Another important
concept pertaining to Christian Education within the Church of the Nazarene, is its
commitment to the passing on of the faith to ones children (Welch, 1994, p. 8).
9


Thus, the Church has implemented the principles that governed ancient Hebrew
educational systems and founded as the core of this process the values, norms,
beliefs and the remembrance of what God had done (Welch, 1994). As part of the
Churchs Christian education three important platforms have been identified:
Christian experience, Christian thinking, and Christian character (Welch, 1994).
Early in the life of the denomination, Ellyson & Wiley (1931) stressed that building
character within the pupils was an important responsibility of Sunday School
teachers.
Background of the Problem
This study explores the delivery of preparing laity for leadership roles,
specifically to the 60,000+ Nazarene Sunday School teachers who reside in the
continental United States and who work within the Church. The hierarchical
structure of the Churchincluding parallels between church structure and that of
school districtsis detailed in chapter 2. Issues of interest include how this
preparation addresses the shortage of trained leaders and what effect it may have on
the drafted-dodged cycle. This problem begins with the recruitment of lay leaders
from the pewsa temporary fix of the problem of a shortage of lay leaders faced by
churches. That particular recruitment process itself sustains Nelsons (1996) call for
leadership which focuses on intangible, long-term results, over management that
tends to adopt more tangible, short-term results.
10


Another dilemma occurs in the face of evidence that many Sunday School
teachers are recruited before they are spiritually mature (Schuller, 1993), yet they
are expected to nurture spiritual maturity in others. These shallow roots tend to lead
to inaccuracies stated as truth to the difficult questions posed by students
(Roehlkepartain, 1993).
According to Talmadge Johnson, past Director of Adult Ministries for the
Church of the Nazarene (personal communication, October 2, 1999), lay leaders
may be offered correspondence training. Continuing Lay Training (CLT) may be
completed either through a class, usually facilitated by a lay leader in the local
congregation, or as a self-study course. Courses are offered in more than 30 areas
using materials developed, published, and distributed through the denomination's
headquarters. Yet, Johnson stresses that Sunday School teachers are very
overlooked in the system of the church, even though they comprise the largest, most
recognizable lay leadership cohort in the church. Sunday School teachers should
systematically teach God's Word, while they provide front-line assistance as they
personally work to meet the needs of their students (Johnson, 1999).
Another avenue for preparation of Sunday School teachers was the Teach
2000 initiative presented jointly by Sunday School Ministries and WordAction
Publishing Company. This conference reached more than 3,500 Nazarenes to date,
and was delivered in 22 cities across North America during the year 2000 and
January, 2001. According to Teach 2000 workshop materials, its stated purpose was
11


to inspire purpose and passionto reach persons of all ages for Christ, and to
equip Sunday School workers to teach people Gods Word.
My perception, and that of several pastors and denominational leaders
(personal communications, 1999-2000), is that few laypeople complete the CLT
training. Wilson (1976) documents that church volunteers often leave in frustration
for the same reasons that volunteers leave other organizations. It may take such
volunteers a bit longer to bum out because of the nature of lay work within the
church, but when they do they are even more disillusioned. They feel that the
"church should somehow have cared more about them than it apparently did" (p.
47). This process exacerbates the shortage of prepared lay leaders.
Perhaps few of the laity are aware of the availability of the training modules
possibly due to untrained leadership (in positions such as Sunday School
superintendent) at the local level that can convince them of the need for training and
assist them in gaining it. This possibility is underscored by Towns (1997), who has
identified this process as one of the reasons followers resist changethat
misunderstandings occur because leaders fail to communicate vital information to
the followers. Further, it appears from denominational data that given the ratio of
lay leaders to registrations and completion of Christian Lay Training modules, few
laypersons register for and/or complete the modules. Additionally, the learning
styles of many adults are such that they do not learn well by simply completing a
12


module, but require a personal, hands-on approach wherein knowledge is actively
constructed by the learner (Pratt, 1993).
However, if an effective process of training laymen on-site and face-to-face
could be developed for churches of all sizes and constituencies, and if this process
was implemented at local levels, it is possible that the perceived gap between the
need for denominationally theologically sound teaching and the need for an increase
in the number of trained lay leaders would close. Thus, the expected outcome of this
study was to be the creation of a new model for the lay leadership training that will
address some of these situations.
Theoretical Framework
Denominations consist of the voluntary association of persons who share
common beliefs in order accomplish their defined objectives; one such objective is
to propagate its point of view (Mead, 1977). Drawing on the similarity of schools
and churches, Sergiovanni (1992) proposes that the concept of schools as learning
communities suggests a connectedness among members that resembles what is
found in a family, where bonds tend to be sacred. In the same vein, Nelson (1998)
maintains that the family culture often found in faith communities (as opposed to
the culture within a typical business) is one reason is that any change tends to be
more significant. Sergiovanni (1992) continues by quoting Shils:
13


Communities are defined by their centersrepositories of values,
sentiments, and beliefs that provide the needed cement for bonding
people together in a common cause. Centers govern what is valuable
to a community. They provide norms that guide behavior and give
meaning to community life. (p. 47)
And when an organization, in this case a church, is that closely coupled, the
process of change is hampered. Nelson (1998) addresses the fact that churches are
reluctant to adopt change because they cling to individual differences that set them
apart from other denominations. The church organization sees this as preserving the
truths and theology upon which they were founded. This is not to suggest that
maintaining the organizational culture of the Church of the Nazarene is unimportant.
Harper & Schulte (1998) believes that the existence of organizational culture is
important for religious organizations and institutions, for such culture exists
somewhere between the micro-world of individual everyday life and the macro-
world of institutions and that it is an important component in better comprehending
both (p. 102). Specifically within churches, culture encompasses anything that
binds a congregation togetherthe symbols, traditions, values behaviors, ideals,
customs, and their meanings (Bama, 2000). For the Church of the Nazarene, it is
agreed that our culture is built on holiness and is a culture which we zealously
protect (Zanner, 2002). To ensure this, Zanner (2002) suggests that the Churchs
general superintendents provide more extensive training for church leaders.
Additionally, few churches can achieve basic innovation without the
necessary funds to underwrite at least three of the major costs that Louis and Miles
14


(1990) identified: training, consultation, and transition management. Louis and
Miles also pointed out that training is geared both toward increasing staff members'
skills and toward developing their abilities to become future sources of internal
expertise. Traditionally in the Church of the Nazarene, little money has been
earmarked for lay training (staff development), and, as Schlechty (Evans, 1996)
pointed out in his 1990 research, the resources that are set aside are nearly always
sacrificed to other ministries or needs. Administrative support is essential for staff
development to be successful.
Systems Thinking
One concept that sets the course for my dissertation research is that of
systems thinking and its related concepts of organizational design and learning
organizations and culture. Sociologist Ross Scherer (1980) contends that
denominations are open-system organizations. This approach sees the organization
as a transformation process intimately linked with its environment (p. 17). Senge
(1994) states that the essence of the discipline of systems thinking lies in a shift of
mind: seeing interrelationships rather than linear cause-effect chains, and seeing
processes of change rather than snapshots (p. 73). This process would allow the
Church of the Nazarene, as well as other denominations, to examine the process of
lay leadership training as a system and to look at the interwoven causes of the
attrition of lay leaders.
15


As the detailed description of the cultural structure of the Church of the
Nazarene in Chapter 2 outlines, the very structure of the denomination limits the
ability of the churches to innovate. First, however, it is necessary to look at the
Church as an organization with a unique culture. Argyris (1990) explains that the
management of organizations willfully, knowingly create a paradox between what
they say they prefer and their managerial stewardship (p. 10). This tends to be built
on three rules that lead to organizational dilemmas: (a) do not upset people, (b) keep
things calm, and (c) deal with inequities privately (p. 98). The findings of Beer,
Eisnestat, and Spector (1990) on uncompetitive organizations support this. They
found that those companies with inflexible rules that could not be adapted to
individual situations had managers and workers who were out of touch with their
constituencies, poor interaction among functional groups, had poor
communicationespecially with the lower levelsand had little strategic thinking.
These characteristics led to their conclusion that the companies had buried their
awareness that they have become overprotective and anti-learningthey do not
know that they are wounded at a time when they are bleeding to death.
Senge's (1994) Shifting the Burden archetype addresses the symptoms of
the problems faced by and because of untrained laity. Thus, it fails to address the
fundamental problem of making lay leadership training available, pertinent, and in a
mode that meets the needs of a majority of the adult laity. A perceived gap between
*
the ineffectiveness of the current process and our desired outcome of well-trained,
16


capable leaders for local ministries also exists. Then, by using Senges cycle of
reinforcing feedback, effective lay training results in motivated, trained leaders, and
thus more effective ministries. It would result in positive growth.
Leadership and Professional Development
And who should be trained? Evans (1996) points out that some vital aspects
of leadership are innate and cannot be taught because not everyone has the
necessary potential. But Matusak (1997) supports the belief that every person has an
innate ability to lead. In fact, she believes that for those who discover their gifts and
talents and apply them to something they are passionate about are virtually
guaranteed to succeed.
Within the Church, the belief exists that all people are called to serve the
Lord; this is part of the Great Commission. But according to Nelson (1996),
churches are faced with three challenges to this concept of the priesthood of all
believers. First, the quality differential between professional clergy and lay
ministers often leads to discrediting the ministry of the lay minister. Second, lay
people often do not accept the ministry of their peers. Finally, Nelson asserts that
finding the time for recruitment, training, and motivation of lay leaders in addition
to their personal professional ministry duties taxes the professional minister.
The belief that all people are called to serve the Lord has led to movements
involving small groups and lay ministry that are interrelated with the concept of
17


pastors as leaders (and not just teachers). Specifically, the rise of the lay movement
requires pastors to become trainers of leaderslaity called to minister. Nelson
(1996) states that
The idea of teaching, discovering, and developing spiritual gifts is for
the purpose of putting the entire church to work.. .. Rather, the
church staff must see one of its primary roles as opening up new
places for ministry. . The pastoral staff helps create opportunities
for the purpose of allowing people a place to minister so that they
can continue to grow spiritually. . When people are spectators
watching a few trained people perform for them, they will be
dwarfed in their spiritual formation, (p. 29)
McKinney (1998) writes of renewal that begins with impartial and
scientifically directed accumulation of pertinent and accurately stated facts that
informs the judgment of leaders. This is corroborated by Nelson (1996) who
separates the concept of management from that of leadership. Management, Nelson
states, involves keeping current systems functioning while primarily emphasizing
efficiency; leadership being a process of implementing changes while primarily
emphasizing effectiveness.
But, Nelson cautions readers to acknowledge a difference between
leadership training where training is a noun modified by leadership, and the training
of leaders where the verb is training and leaders is the noun. According to Butler
(1989) and Sparks (1983), the most effective staff development programs are those
which (a) have established clear, specific goals and objectives; (b) require the active
involvement of the participants; (c) have regularly scheduled sessions with
18


opportunities for the adult learners to try new skills through practice,
experimentation, and discussion; and (d) allow for the analysis of their learning in
environments where the students feel safe and comfortable. Sparks (1995) further
advises that the focus be on a combination of the development of generic
instructional skills and specific discipline skills, with trainers who consult, plan, and
facilitate the training, where everyone who affects student learning takes an active
role. This staff-development process would be job-embedded learning, where laity
would participate as part of a study group, observe master leaders, and reflect on
their learning through journaling. Sparks adds the caution that this development
must be viewed as fundamental and indispensable (p. 29).
Warning against packaged programs, Beer, Eisenstat, and Spector (1990),
point out that the change process in organizations that used those types of programs
either failed or indicated little success. In his earlier research, Butler (1989)
concluded that the content of a professional development program should be
research-based, concrete, skill-specific, and should emphasize the development of
skills, rather than the touchy-feely esteem-building workshops that proliferate. Rost
(1993) reminds us that while training specialists may see their relationships with
clients as leadership relationships because both the specialists and the clients
influence one another concerning intended real changes that reflect their mutual
purposes (p. 102). This might mean developing long-term contracts in order to allow
for the possibility of transformation rather than incremental change (p. 185).
19


Further, such relationships might result in longer professional development sessions
and follow-up sessions that include peer coaching or collaborative mentoring
strategies.
Draves (1984) sets forth four specific characteristics of adult learners that
should be considered (pp. 9-14). First, adults as learners must be emotionally
comfortable with the learning situation. Second, the physical facility must
accommodate the specialized needs of adults. Third, the program must be problem-
based, pertinent to the adult's time perspective, and cultivate the adult's readiness to
learn. Finally, the adult learner's need for sociability should be addressed.
Study Focus
The study, then, focused on the preparation of Sunday School teachers in the
three districts of the Michigan Church of the Nazarene. Specifically, I strove to
identify components that would constitute an ideal program for the development of
Sunday School teachers in the Church of the Nazarene. The main question that
guided the study is: Is the professional development of lay Sunday School teachers
appropriate, in terms of concepts, context, and delivery systems, to the role that they
are expected to play in the continuous building of the Church of the Nazarene? To
discover this, four sub-questions were studied: (a) What contextual issues should be
addressed in a model of professional development for Church of the Nazarene
Sunday School teachers? (b) What content issues should be addressed in a model of
20


professional development for Church of the Nazarene Sunday School teacher? (c)
How can the delivery of this model be facilitated by church leaders? (d) How can
the organizational design of our churches facilitate professional development of
Sunday School teachers, and thus, our culture?
Since both schools and churches are typically bureaucratic organizations and
very similar in structure to public school systems, I relied on parallels that exist
between these structures and also between the roles of participants in those two
types of organizations as this investigation continues. This is discussed in more
detail in Chapter 2, Systems within Christian Learning Organizations.
Methodology
The dissertation research project is a mixed-method study with survey,
content analysis, and Delphi process used to determine Church leaders level of
support for teacher training and a perspective on what such training should entail.
First, Sunday School teachers and Sunday School superintendents in the three
Michigan districts of the Church of the Nazarene were surveyed to determine their
perspectives on issues related to the content, context and delivery of professional
development for Sunday School teachers. The results of these surveys was analyzed
statistically; and from that analysis, a list of issues derived. This list provided a
starting point for Delphi discussions to follow.
21


Next, the materials from the Teach 2000 workshops were analyzed for
content for the same core issuesissues of content, context, and delivery processes.
These two sets of data are combined into a set of preliminary issues that were
presented to a Delphi panel for two rounds of consensus building. This Delphi panel
consisted of three randomly selected Sunday School teachers (one from each
Michigan district) and one randomly selected Sunday School superintendent along
with Christian education professors from Nazarene institutions of higher education
and Sunday School Ministries personnel from the International Headquarters.
Two rounds of discussion were conducted via internet. An independent and
objective assistant collected the responses from the web site and removed all
identifying information before passing on the content of the two sessions to me.
This allowed for maximum confidentiality. The results distilled from these rounds
represented consensus on issues of content, context, and delivery of professional
development for Nazarene Sunday School teachers.
Structure of the Dissertation
The dissertation itself consists of seven chapters. Chapter One has
introduced the problem by relating the general background of the problem. A
theoretical framework followed. Then, the specific problem and research questions
were presented, succeeded by a brief recounting of the methodology used. Chapter
One concludes with a description of the structure of the dissertation.
22


Chapters Two through Four are detailed reviews of the literature in three
focus areas: systems theory, organizational design, learning organizations and
culture, (b) professional development and Christian Education, and (c) leadership
and Christian leadership. Detailed discussion of the methodology used during the
research process comprises Chapter Five. Included is an enumeration of each step of
the process from conception of the initial survey through the analysis of interview
data.
A description of the findings appears as Chapter Six. Finally, Chapter Seven
addresses the answers to the four research sub-questions as indicated by the data.
Then, it details the conclusions reached as a result of this study, as well as
implications and recommendations to the denomination headquarters on the
preparation of the Sunday School teachers. A bit of foreshadowing of future
research projects is also addressed.
23


CHAPTER 2
SYSTEMS WITHIN CHRISTIAN
LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS
According to Peter Senges (1994) theory, systems thinking is a conceptual
framework that helps us see the patterns that influence our lives. Systems theory,
therefore, allows us to see the inter-relatedness of actions taken in each
organizational variable. Through this process we are able to see the effects each
action has on other actions. Organizations, as defined by Greenleaf (1977) are
a gathering of persons who have accepted a common purpose, and a
common discipline to guide the pursuit of that purpose, to the end
that each involved person reaches higher fulfillment as a person,
through serving and being served by the common venture, than
would be achieved alone or in a less committed relationship, (p. 237)
Systems and Organizations
Organizations are vital mechanisms for pursuing collective goals in modem
societies (Scott, 1981, p. 25). The structure of a system is identifiable by an
organizations key inter-relationships that influence, over time, the behavior of that
organization; this idea is of particular interest to the study.
While these relationships may include person-to-person relationships, in a
system all relationships among the different variables of each organization interact
24


(Senge, 1994). This way of thinking involves the concept of feedback,
defined in this process as exploring how actions can either reinforce or counteract
other actions (Senge). Thus, every action or influence is both a cause and an effect
to its affiliated actions/influences. This process of feedback becomes the
responsibility of everyone within an organization. By examining and evaluating the
reinforcing feedback processes that are instruments of growth (the
balancing/stabilizing feedback) and that operate in goal-driven behaviors, the
leaders of an organization can act to alter the consequences of these actions (Senge).
Through this examination process gaps appear between the vision for the
organization and what is in reality occurring within the organization. This could be
what happens when training for lay leadershipspecifically Sunday School
teachersdoes not occur. These gaps represent symptoms of problemsnot the
problems themselves. But because the problems are obscure and complex, often the
organizational leaders focus on quick fixes that alleviate the symptoms while the
problem continues to fester beneath the surface (Senge, 1994). However, it is
precisely these gaps that produce a source of creative energy required for
organizational forward movement (Senge).
Viewing organizations as systems involves altering our long-held beliefs that
everything happening within an organization is a linear cause-effect chain. Instead,
it becomes necessary to look at each structure within the organization as a series of
intertwined relationships (Senge, 1994). Therefore, I examined four components
25


that influence the potential of organizational growth: culture, structure, strategy, and
reserves (Meyer, 1982). Of particular interest here are culture and structure.
Defining culture is difficult, yet without culture, no group or systemonly
peoplecan exist (Schein, 1985). Further, culture is learned and evolves via the
norms and standards of an organization throughout the life and critical events of an
organization (Schein, 1985; Steinbron, 1997). During this evolution process, the
focus can be on boundaries, authority, intimacy, and roles within the organization;
thus culture may be taught both implicitly and explicitly as a group develops a
history (Schein, 1985). As the organization matures and history lengthens, its
culture becomes pervading, influencing structures, procedures and group
interactions (Schein, 1985).
Culture may be defined as shared beliefs that bind values to actions
(Meyer, 1982, p. 522). Or as Steinbron (1997) prefers, it is the genetic code that
communicates to new and future members what is valuable, correct or proper, and
permitted. And within an organization, it is the values and beliefs that draw
attention for they define what is important and what the organization will address
(Watkins & Marsick, 1993). Therefore, from these values and beliefs, cultures
evolve along with structures being developed to support the underlying belief
systems (Watkins & Marsick). Formal structures, such as those present in schools
and in churches, are those where procedures and processes are spelled out in rules or
established practice (Greenleaf, 1977). For the Church of the Nazarene, a Manual is
26


published every quadrennium that lists every process and procedure churches are to
implement. Similar to churches, schools tend to be structured to maintain the status
quo (Schlechty, 1990). Contrasting these formal structures are informal ones
wherein leadership is free to provide encouragement and a culture of
experimentation and risk-taking (Greenleaf, 1977). Together, formal and informal
structures give organizational strength (Greenleaf).
Elements of organizational culture are embedded in the stories of the
organization, its symbols and its rituals (Hawkins, 1997). Such culture functions to
give an organization its identity, ideology, and basic assumptions, and is passed
down from generation to generation (Crow, 1997; Schein, 1985). It is important to
note that while serving as a source of identity and strength, culture can mature or
decline as a result of excessive internal stability and thereby inhibit innovation
(Schein, 1981).
The culture of the local congregations is also affected by their individual
compositions. Crow (1997) likens the Churches of the Nazarene to Rothauges
typology that identifies the following organizations: (a) Family churches which
average 50 or fewer people, (b) Pastoral churches with 50 to 150 persons, (c)
Program churches ranging from 150 to 350, and (d) Corporation churches with 300
to 500 Sunday morning worshipers. Tonniess (1957) group structure continuum
describes groups of Gemeinschaft wherein traditions, consensus, informality and
kinship are foundational, and Gesellschaft groups with their more formalized,
27


impersonal, and specialized structure. Crow (1997), using this continuum, finds a
four-tier structure apparent within the Church of the Nazarene: the Basic Family
Church, the Extended Family Church, the Family Owned Enterprise Church, and the
Corporate Enterprise Church. The Basic Family Church (40.1% of the Churches of
the Nazarene in 1996) has up to 50 worshipers present in Sunday morning service;
its focus is on building and maintaining relationships. Due to its small size, the
Basic Family Church organizes informally with power vested in one specific person
or family (matron/patron); thus decisions are made by consensus according to the
direction of the patron/matron. Work teams organize within the social network of
the family. If they do lead, pastors in Basic Family Churches lead by influence, as a
result, supervision is informal.
The Extended Family Church exemplified 44.5% of the Nazarene Churches
in 1996. With their dominant coalition, Crow (1997) likens these churches to
family reunions. Planning and goal setting is informally accomplished with
emphasis on serving the needs of the families. Little training is required for those
who serve in these churches since programs are general in nature and center around
worship and fellowship. Decisions are also made, and change undertaken, when the
patron group reaches consensus before the church board codifies action.
Family Enterprise Churches comprised 12.3% of the denomination in 1996.
These churches retain a dominant coalition whose primary emphasis is to meet the
needs of the family by reaching outside of itself; thus these churches focus on
28


building and maintaining the organization. The guiding coalition responds quickly
to the needs of the individual families as well as the church family as a whole. And
while written policies are in place, the leaders may not follow them. In these
churches direct access to the leadership is present, even though a department
structure is delineated on an organizational chart. Authority rests with the board that
may or may not share it with the pastor; usually this board takes its job seriously
which can result in micro-management. Most workers for the general programs are
recruited as volunteers without necessitating special training. Supervision tends to
be based on relationships rather than formality (Crow, 1997).
In 1996, 3.1% of the Churches were Corporate Enterprise Churches with
their bureaucratic design. These churches tend to be supportive of denomination
policies and practices, yet they seem to exist to support the denomination rather than
draw from it. Thus, Corporate Enterprise Churches operate more like a corporation
or university with a departmental structure and a master plan. And while
congregants have access to leadership, it is usually through the levels of department
leaders. Additionally, policies are not only spelled out, but are expected to form the
basic functioning of the procedures for the church. The board makes decisions with
input from the pastor; the pastor also gives permission for the planning/
implementation of change. Due to its size and structure, a paid staff person oversees
all programs. These programs have a life of their won and in true bureaucratic
style, leaders come and go (p. 19).
29


Thus it is that these values and beliefs, representing the unique history and
norms of the organization, are transmitted to the participants via the learning
systems within that organization (Watkins & Marsick, 1993). Cultures that learn are
those cultures that continually reconstruct themselves in order to cope with
persistent change (Hawkins, 1997).
Likewise, healthy churches seem to be those that are committed to Gods
Word and not to their comfortable traditions (Grubbs, 1998). It is further noted that
Bamas (1997) research has identified an exodus from the church of laity with
leadership gifts, abilities, and experiences but who have been unable to break into
the culture of the church. These leavers express frustration with churches that are
not led by leaders or by persons who have an understanding of leadership.
The complexity and formalization of an organization increases as it grows
and ages (Bolman & Deal, 1997). The work of the organization is divided into
specialized roles and units which are tied together vertically and horizontally
(Bolman & Deal).
Structure of the Church of the Nazarene
The Church of the Nazarenebirthed in 1907 with the uniting of several
holiness churchesappears to be organized as a simple hierarchy; the General
Assembly, consisting of equal numbers of clergy and laity elected from each of the
Districts, as well as the General Superintendents (including present, emeriti, and
30


retired), General Secretary, General Treasurer, and presidents and directors of the
various departments, divisions, and schools. These General Superintendents are
charged with the general supervision of the Church; the various required duties
necessary to facilitate the progress of the Church globally are monitored through
meetings of the General Board.
The membership of the General Assembly is divided into three types of
districts: (a) Phase 1 districts which are geographic regions designated for
evangelism by the World Mission Division; (b) Phase 2 districts where at least 10
organized churches, 500 members and at least 5 ordained elders worship; and (c)
Phase 3 districts which are self-supporting regions consisting of at least 20
churches, 1,000 members, and 10 ordained elders.
Within each district, then, are the local churches. These congregations are
organized under the auspices of their District, and are expected to adhere to the
procedures outlined in the Manual (2001-2005). The District Superintendents
assume the role of the middle managers of the simple hierarchyreporting to the
General Superintendents while supervising the day-to-day activities of the local
congregations. This process leaves the Board of General Superintendents free to
focus on the mission of the Church as a whole.
The Church of the Nazarene also reflects the structure of a matrix
organization where the functional divisions retain most of the control, so the teams
are set within a bureaucratic structure from which it is often difficult to break free
31


(Morgan, 1997, p. 53). This particular organizational configuration, with its
bureaucratic structure, is a symptom of the failure of Churches to innovate
(Morgan).
Such bureaucracy with its line-and-staff organization, centralized control,
and narrow spans of control is often found in organizations where its authority
exists in the rules, mandates and expectations of the organization (Sergiovanni,
1992). How bureaucracy and its related negative connotations are viewed colors our
impression of organizations. Rather than viewing bureaucracy as a hindrance to the
existence of an organization, it should be viewed as a necessity in democratic
organizations (Gangel, 1981) because it fosters efficiency and focuses on doing
things correctly.
Parallel Structures
It appears that schools and churches have parallel structures. According to
Fullan (1991), school district administrators maintain highly visible positions, but
have little or no effect on change at the local school level. It is the principals who
shape the organizations and the conditions for change; they build the shared goals
and create collaborative work environments, structures, and climates. Principals,
then are the key to implementation and continuation of change efforts (Fullan,
1991), as are local pastors. The teachers, on the other hand, may or may not be
predisposed to considering and acting on improvements in their schools (Fullan)
32


since the climate and culture of their schools also affect them. However, teachers
have a responsibility to seek and try new strategies, to continually improve their
own performance, and to share ideas and information with their colleagues (Hixson
& Tinzmann, 1990). Likewise, principals relationships with their peers affect their
own learning of new skills and behaviors (Fullan, 1990).
In the Church of the Nazarene, District Superintendents hold authority
similar to that of district school administrators. In much the same way as principals
(Hixson, et al.), it is the local pastor who is the primary agent of change. It is he or
she who provides the psychological support for their paid and unpaid staff. Pastors
also are keepers of resources. The best indicator of their support for their staff is if
they, themselves, attend workshops and training sessions with the teachers. If the
parallels between schools-organizations and church-organizations hold, then
possibly bureaucracy can work either for or against these organizations.
Christian Organizations as Systems
Christian organizations have rarely considered themselves to be systems.
Indeed, very little literature links systems theory to Christian organizations.
However churches seem to fit Scotts definition of rational systems since they are
highly formalized groups oriented to the pursuit of specific goals, (1981, p. 26).
Likewise, importance of organizational culture within churches is acknowledged
(Harper & Schulte-Murray, 1998).
33


Denominational norms (spoken and unspoken) and a typically bureaucratic
hierarchy often dictate the life and growth of a church. As Wagner (1984) cited
three specific things that limit local congregationsthe traditions of the church, the
length of time the church has been established, and the size of the church. Although
Wagner doesnt call them so, these limitations are expressions of Senges (1994)
systems archetypes: balancing processes with delays, limits to growth, shifting the
burden, and eroding goals.
Within all organizations lies a tendency to organize, create structures and
policies, and institutionalize those (Nelson, 1998). For the Church of the Nazarene,
these are found in the Manual. Included therewith are sections of special rules,
governance, ministry and Christian service with job descriptions, judicial
administration, boundaries, rituals, auxiliary constitutions for Nazarene Youth
International, the World Society of Missions, and Sunday School. This document
clearly documents the formal structure of the Church.
Noted religious researcher Arthur Schlesinger, Sr., cites the beginning of this
process of bureaucracy in churches during the period between 1925 and 1935 which
he named the American religious depression (McKinney, 1998, p. 7). During this
time, as churches were dividing ideologically and membership growth was failing to
keep pace with growth of the population, prominent laity from the ranks of industry
were drawn into church decision-making circles. Their arrival brought with them
pressures to apply scientific management techniques to managing church mission
34


operations. James Moorhead (1994) points to the late 19th and early 20th century
when churches began to draw from the new developments in business and
government as the beginning of the emergence of a new organizational style for
churches. Specifically, Moorhead stated:
When fully developed, its marks included specialized departments
governed by regularized administrative rules, staffed by "experts,"
and organized under central coordination. In performing their tasks,
these agencies accumulated data in a scientific fashion and employed
business-like sales campaigns to promote support (p. 269).
Just as other organizations, churches can stagnate when the leaders are
unaware of the process of systems thinking. Because roots of problems within a
church are neither recognized nor addressed, nothing changes. In fact, the situation
could worsen and the churches could die.
Learning Organizations
Learning organizations are built on a culture of mutual respect and
willingness to examine ones own assumptions and those of others (Maddix, 1997).
They must, according to Senge (2000, online) be grounded in a culture based on
transcendent human values of love, wonder, humility, and compassion; a set of
practices for generative conversation and coordinated action; and a capacity to see
and work with the flow of life as a system.
The concept of schools as learning organizations suggests connectedness
among members so they resemble a family (Sergiovanni, 1992). Their values and
35


beliefs that lie at the foundation of their structure (Sergiovanni) define such
communities. Since teachers hold special position in the center of the community,
they have an integral responsibility to help define the communitys values
(Sergiovanni).
Churches as Learning Organizations
Churches can also become learning organizations with the capacity to
maintain or improve their performance based on experience (Nevis, DiBella, &
Gould, 1999). If learning can be described as a combination of focus, capability, and
will (Watkins & Marsick, 1993), then perhaps a learning organization could be
defined as a group of individuals who are working toward a shared vision and who
have an understanding of the learning opportunities available to them (focus), the
resources and skills necessary for learning (capability), and the motivation that can
carry the learning and the organization forward (Watkins & Marsick). Such learning
evolves at the individual, team and congregational levels (Hawkins, 1997).
According to Nevis (on-line), all organizations have within themselves systems that
support organizational learning. Aleshire (1996) identifies three types of events that
build congregational learning: (a) structured and intentional events, (b) unstructured
and unintentional events, and (c) the teaching done by avoiding certain subjects or
activitiesthat is the hidden curriculum of the church.
36


Several keys are required to unlock that potential and allow for the evolution
of learning organizations. Becoming a learning organization requires, first, a shared
vision (Senge, 1994). Vision, discussed in more detail in Chapter 4, unites an
organization with a sense of unity as it moves toward its common goal (Watkins &
Marsick, 1993). Second, it requires that the people within an organization are
receptive to a sometimes painful introspection of their own role in maintaining
organizational stasis, their comfort with ideas that seem wrong, and their
tolerance for frustration and confusion during the process of learning (Argyris,
1990; Evans, 1996). It also requires that people within the organization bring into
conscious awareness what they are learning through questioning, reflection, and
feedback (Watkins & Marsick, 1993). When Christians reflect on ministry, learning
is facilitated in that it becomes concrete, immediate, and continual (Hawkins,
1997, p. 42).
Other characteristics of learning organizations are systems for sharing
learning and then using learning in the business the organization carries out,
opportunities to learn daily, and a culture of feedback and disclosure (Watkins &
Marsick, 1993). For local congregations, this would include learning through the
process of worship, evaluation of teaching, and feedback of events.
Additionally, the organizational leaders require special characteristics. These
leaders must (a) be optimistic and demonstrate faith and hope in the vision, (b)
innately sense where the organization could be and what is needed to take the
37


organization to that higher plane, and (c) be wise managers of the dream and the
various entities struggling to stake a claim in the organization (Bennis, 1994).
Finally, when seeking to become a learning organization, the organization
must learn from its experiences (March & Olsen, 1976). One of the easiest ways to
learntransforming raw experience into remembered meaning (Hawkins)is to
seek feedback from customers (Wood & Mai, 1997). For a church, those customers
are the members of the congregation and the community the church serves. Through
this process, the church would be specifically seeking information that can be used
to build knowledge and facilitate refinement or redirection of is mission and
activities (Wood & Mai, 1997). It is questionable how frequently this process occurs
in church.
Becoming a learning organization appears to involve four distinct steps. As
stated by Argyris (1990), first, the leaders must convince participants that they have
been given responsibility to learn. This process involves mapping out how the
organization currently deals with problems. Next, leaders must assist participants in
diagnosing how their participation maintains the current process. Then, the
participants should be taught how to adapt and use changed theories about how
organizational procedures should work. Finally, leaders need to help participants
repeat the learning process as they solve other problems within the organization.
Often, this process is intrinsically satisfying to participants and forward momentum
is generated naturally (Argyris, 1990). This learning then would be embedded in
38


their culture (Maddix, 1997) and would occur wherever ministry takes place and is
holisticfor a church it would occur through service, community, proclamation,
worship, and teaching (Hawkins, 1997, p. 16). Simultaneously, the congregation
would be developing new knowledge, skills or values for use in their future
(Hawkins; Maddix,).
Planning for learning, though, is not a skill that can be taught through classes
but one that involves how the participants think about themselves as learners and the
level of self-confidence and self-esteem they feel (Watkins & Marsick, 1993). This
requires an orchestration of professional development for participants that allow for
learning to be facilitated. In churches, it becomes a primary responsibility of the
leaders to help congregates learn the values, attitudes, and skills needed to minister
at the speed of change (Hawkins, 1997, p. x). Further, pastors should cultivate an
environment where the congregation as a whole can shape and reshape meaning
within a community of shared practice, continually clarifying those meanings in
light of a deeper understand of the revelation made known in Jesus Christ (p. 11).
It is also the churchs responsibility to develop ways of improving the quality of
teaching that can enhance the organizations culture such as those suggested by
Stigler (2002): (a) improve the pool of available teachers, (b) improve the
competence of the classroom teachers, and (c) improve the methods used by those
teachers.
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CHAPTER 3
SYSTEMS OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
AND THEIR APPLICATIONS TO CHRISTIAN
EDUCATION IN THE CHURCH
Since leaders create organizational culture, and that same culture creates the
next generation of leaders (Schein, 1985), it becomes important for organizations, in
this case denominations, to come to consensus on the basic concept of truth on
which the organization will be built (Schein). Evelyn and James Whitehead (1980)
identified three stages of theological reflection. In the first stage, attending,
information is gleaned from traditions, experiences and culture. During the second
stage, asserting, clarification of individual views to allow for expansion and
deepening of theological thought. Finally, deciding occurswhere people are
moved to action based on the insights they have gained. Therefore, integrating the
concepts of culture and leadership that were previously delineated, we can adopt
Pazminos (1994) definition of education: the process of attending to, asserting,
and deciding upon content with persons in the context of their community and
society (p. 102).
Indeed, the terms staff development and professional development are heard
echoing through the hallways of schools around the world. Michigan School Code,
Section 1526 and 1527 succinctly prescribe teacher professional development. Five
40


days of professional development are required for all teachers annually, with an
additional 15 days of intensive professional development induction into teaching
during the first three years of a teachers career. Each of these days is equal to the
local districts definition of the contract day, often about 6 Vi hours, with no session
less than one hour in length. Specifically, professional development activities for
Michigan teachers is mandated to include knowledge of educational needs of
students, the study of proven research, inclusive of the best use of technologies,
ongoing reflection, and principles of adult learning and is designed with input from
the educators and non-teaching staff for whom it is intended.
Yet, it appears that much professional development activities are weak,
ineffectual efforts that focus on isolated skills or on strategies for improvement in
small areas (Hixson & Tinzman, 1990). Often, these are one-shot workshops
address issues considered fads with no clear purpose or alignment to a schools
vision and no follow-up (Sparks, 1995).
Among the challenges confronting professional development practices is
helping teachers build a knowledge base upon which to draw during their practices
(Stigler, 2002). Working in sustained collaborative settings can enhance this process
(Stigler; Shroyer, 1990) which can be strengthened or impeded by the organization
and its values and structure (Balsmeyer, 1996). The isolation experienced by public
school teachers (Rosenholtz, 1991) seems, by personal observation, to be just as
41


severe in a Sunday School setting. Effective mentoring can ameliorate this
phenomenon (Killion, 1990).
Perhaps more correctly, professional development should be an obligation to
professional career development, and should continue throughout the career span of
educators as they strive to become more knowledgeable and skilled at their
profession (Wetherill, Burton, Calhoun, & Thomas, 2002). In fact, Wetherill et al.
hold to the following assumptions: (a) that every educator must engage in
experiences leading to their professional growth; (b) schools must support these
experiences, whether they fulfill personal or organizational needs; (c) educators
should continuously evaluate their personal professional competence; (d) educators
should identify what they individually need to become more effective, what skills
and knowledge is necessary, and those that would enhance individual effectiveness
with colleagues and learners; and (e) educators should develop and revise their
beliefs about teaching as they develop a practice of professional reflection.
Effective educational organizations should be communities of learning
(Lieberman, 1996). Part of such communities is the opportunity to collectively think
about their practice, to discuss their individual and collective beliefs, experiences,
questions, and insights, and deliberate about curriculum (Lieberman, 1996). Part of
the development of a learning organization is also helping stakeholders become
consciously aware of the learning they are experiencing, and providing formal
1


learning where experts assist people by providing answers and practice to real-life
application (Watkins & Marsick, 1993, p. 25).
Guskey (1998) states that success in any improvement effort rests on the
smallest unit of the organizationfor schools this is the classrooms and the
individuals in them. Well-developed programs have the ability not only to improve
particular targeted facets of a school, but to help schools gain a vision for what they
are, what they could be, and what they need to do in order to achieve that vision
(Hixson & Tinzman, 1990). Therefore, it is important to look at definitions of
professional development and at delivery systems that have proven successful. Then
for our purposes, we investigated the applicability of these to the training of laity.
Definition of Professional Development
The potentially powerful tool, professional development, can be defined as a
process that encompasses all aspects of training, from readiness activities, practice
and coaching, through follow-up and support activities (Guskey & Sparks, 1991).
It denotes all activities used in formal organizations that work to improve the
education, training, skills, attitudes, or personal attributes of all members of a
specific organization (Orlich, 1985, p. 7), thus expanding the human potential. This
definition implies that effective professional development begins at the pre-service
stage of teacher preparation and continues throughout the career of the teacher.
Professional development should enhance curricular offerings and promote
43


professional growth (McBride, 1994) while providing training for teachers in
teaching methodologies (Garmston, 1991). Properly designed, professional
development can invigorate teachers as they explore new concepts and practices,
reflect on the application of those process/concepts in their own professional lives,
experiment and practice, and share collegially (Wise, Spiegel, & Bruning, 1999).
Three Components of Professional Development
Three subdivisions of professional development are often cited: (a) the
content, (b) the process of delivery, and (c) the context of the professional
developmentthat is, consideration of the system or culture in which it will take
place (Guskey & Sparks, 1996). Schein (1985) describes this as the projection of
our personal patterns of culture to people of other cultures.
Content of Professional Development
If an organization wants to improve, efforts to do so must be tailored to the
specific organization (Fox, Bryne & Rouault, 1999). These efforts should include
career development opportunities that are cost-effective and relevant for the
organization and the individuals within it (Fox et al.). Such curriculum might
include processes for self-assessment, an array of varied activities addressing
different learning styles, and training specific to the organizations setting
(Camevale, 1991). Also included should be techniques to help teachers learn to
44


analyze their practices, expose them to alternative practices, and help them discern
which practices are appropriate a various times (Stigler, 2002).
Additionally, the content of a well-designed professional development
program must be based on specific and concise core competencies and must be
research-based (Guskey & Sparks, 1991; Licklider, 1997). Selection of development
activities that are not based on research may result in spending of precious resources
on activities conceptually inaccurate or inappropriate for a particular organization
(Schlechty, 1990). Finally, one important function of professional development is
not, as supposed, to train only people with skills, but more importantly that,
through training, they gain understanding of the demands of the task that they
have assumed (Roehlkepartain, 1993, p. 102).
Delivery of Professional Development
Delivery of professional development should be tailored to the individual
organization and its particular needs. Indeed, although this paper concentrates on the
professional development of teachers, every adult in every organization must
continually upgrade their skills, learn new knowledge, develop new strategies and
techniques, and grow (Guskey & Sparks, 1991). Adult development needs must be
considered because it is recognized that beginning teachers have different
motivation and different needs than do veteran teachers (Katz, 1972; Krupp, 1987;
Shroyer, 1990; Wood & Thompson, 1993). Evidence shows that successful
45


professional development provides opportunities for teachers to practice and
experiment with these techniques/strategies (Hixson & Tinzmann, 1990; Licklider,
1997; Wise et al., 1999). A delivery system that provides for such job-embedded
training yields success. The delivery should be a process that allows continuous, on-
going training of teachers rather than one-shot workshops (Caverly, Peterson &
Mandeville, 1997; Cole, 1999; Evans, 1989). Mentoring and coaching have proven
to be excellent techniques to provide this training one-to-one. These strategies are
discussed in more detail later.
Context of Professional Development
The contextual issues revolving around professional development include
who should be trained and by whom, where, when, and why such training should
take place (Hawkins, 1997). It also includes the culture of the organization
attempting the process (Guskey & Sparks, 1996). For learning congregations,
Hawkins (1997) would specifically include the history of the congregation, the
structure of the organization as well as its goals and policies. He further endorses
mentorships, which are discussed later in this paper, as the tool for developing high
quality learning. Freedom in the design of the programs allows professionals at
every level of the career span to be nurtured.
Professional development programs that succeed are designed with well-
developed core competencies and tied to systemic goals of the organization
46


(Asayesh, 1994). These should be specific to the organization or to the individual
teacher. Administrative commitment for these goals and budget line support for the
professional development program provide necessary focus and help secure an
enduring program (Asayesh).
In short, professional development should be a process of systematically
contacting and assisting in the professional growth of new teachers, and including
them in collegial discussions about teaching (Hope, 1999). The primary
responsibility for this lies with the principal who should search for opportunities
where teachers are able to acquire skills or reinforce those within their repertoires
(Hope). In order for this to be accomplished, it becomes important to redefine
standard relationships among teachers and administrators (Wasley, 1991).
Finally, when planning the context of professional development, it is
essential to examine how both novices and experienced people learn (Dailey, 1999).
Addressing these differences optimize learning for all participants in the
professional development process (Dailey).
Delivery Systems
Delivery of professional development takes many forms, often predicated by
the organization, its size and its culture. Here we look at two delivery systems
currently popular in public education for teacher development.
47


Induction Programs
Besides being an attempt to fulfill many states mandates, induction
programs are usually developed to address several needs (Hirsh, 1990; Odell, 1986).
The first and foremost purpose of induction is to improve teacher effectiveness.
Serving as a school district tool, it also helps increase the retention rate of promising
professionals (Hirsh, 1990). By establishing a norm of professional development for
faculty, induction promotes growth in both the professional and personal lives of the
teachers (Hope, 1999). Through such programs, districts are able to nurture an
awareness of their particular culture, and help teachers develop a sense of
collaboration and collegiality (Hirsh, 1990).
Thus, it is that induction programs commonly include instruction about
employment conditions, discussion of school regulations, visits to the school sites
where a brief orientation to that building takes place. Induction consists of the
pairing of a beginning teacher with an experienced teacher, scheduled group
meetings throughout the school year where emotional support is offered to the
beginning teachers. In further may include reduced teaching loads for the mentor
teacher, and opportunities for the beginning teacher to observe other classrooms or
to participate in team teaching with experienced teachers (Veenman, 1984).
Well-developed induction programs also meet other needs. Stroot, et al.
(1999) affirms Golds observation of the psychological support discovered by many
teachers during the induction processespecially during the first months of
48


teaching when the teacher is looking for survival techniques and seeking help early
on with management issues. As these teachers develop confidence and a sense of
security, they inquire about strategic and instructional processes. Both new-to-
teaching and new-to-the-building teachers require assistance in obtaining resources
and fundamental school culture information (Odell, 1986).
Mentoring
Akin to induction programs are mentoring programs. Lambright (1999)
defines mentoring as, . . a mutual love relationship in which a person, as teacher,
role model, and nurturing caregiver, invests her or his life in another toward that
persons comprehensive development (p. 77).
In a school situation, mentoring is taken as the pairing of a veteran teacher
with a new teacher and has been found to be a cost-effective and powerful
professional-development tool (Sherrill, 1999). These ongoing relationships, with
their I-Thou encounters and elements of mutuality (Lambright, 1999) seem to
benefit the new teachers (proteges) as well as veteran teachers who may be
experiencing mid-career weariness (Killion, 1990). It appears that the act of
mentoring a protege serves to fill a personal need for generativitya concern for
establishing and guiding the next generation (Erickson, 1968, p. 138).
The responsibilities of a mentor teacher include providing the new teacher
with an understanding of the community of the school and classroom management
49


skills, practicing the art of reflecting on their performance, and developing
themselves into lifelong learners (Davies, Brady, & Rodger, 1999). Additionally,
the mentor serves as a role model for the protege and assists her or him to develop
critical thinking skills (Lambright, 1999). Administrative support for mentoring
programs can advance the development of employees full potential (Fox, Bryne, &
Rouault, 1999). In fact, learning is greatest when the mentor attends personally to
another over an extended period of time (Hawkins, 1997). In the most effective
congregations studied in the Effective Christian Education study, it was found that
mentoring informally taught skills and built support networks for teachers
(Roehlkepartain, 1993).
Killion (1990) has observed that while helping newcomers perfect their
craft, mentors also report professional growth as they practice pedagogy inquiry and
the art of reflection, receiving from their proteges as much as they give. Further,
self-esteem is enhanced as mentors are given recognition, and develop skills in
supervision, counseling, and coaching (Killion, 1990). Likewise, the schools are
beneficiaries of the developing norms of collegiality and sharing.
Several recommendations have been made regarding the selection of teacher
mentors. Adequate training for mentors is a primary requirement. This training
should include recognition and understanding of the stages of adult development
and their effects on the career of the proteges (Odell, 1986). Additionally, mentors
should have a minimum of five years of experience in the district, excellent oral and
50


written communication skills, demonstrate excellent teaching skills along with a
varied repertoire of techniques and strategies (Hirsh, 1990; Stroot et al., 1999). The
ability to work cooperatively with colleagues is a prerequisite (Stroot et al.), as is
keeping the mentor-protege relationships voluntary with each partner self-selecting
the other.
Varied responsibilities face the mentor. It is expected that they assist the
protege in the transfer of learning from workshops into the classroom, provide
support and reinforcement to the protege, provide feedback following each
classroom observation, respond to queries and concerns, and maintain
confidentiality between themselves and their proteges (Hofsess, 1990). Establishing
a structure for mentor support in which mentors receive in-depth training and then
meet with other mentors for periodic, scheduled opportunities for mutual support is
vital for success. It is likewise recommended that mentors be provided with
opportunities for professional development (Hofsess). Another tool that has been
identified with improvement of teacher practices is that of professional reflection.
While mentoring novices, a mentor practitioner can model strategies, share their
personal writings, and provide appropriate emotional support and encouragement
(Ross, 2002).
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Program Evaluation
Finally, it is essential that the programs described above have a built-in
process of evaluation (Cole, 1990; Hirsh, 1990). Included in this process are five
components identified by Sims, Dobbs, and Hand (2002)accountability,
effectiveness, impact, effectiveness, organizational context, and unanticipated
consequences. Several benefits result from program evaluation; first, this evaluation
is necessary to maintain focus (Hirsh). Other benefits include an assessment of the
strengths and weaknesses of a program, it has the capacity to build the self-esteem
of program participants and leaders, and it enables leaders and teachers to assess the
level of success they individually and collectively exhibit (Johnson, 1990).
Guskey (1998) stresses that, if professional development is to be purposeful,
it must be goal-driven with a process of examining whether or not it is making a
difference in teaching. Guskey delineates three major types of evaluation: (a)
planning, (b) formative, and (c) summative evaluation. Planning evaluation occurs
prior to the commencement of a program and involves assessment of the critical
attributes of a program. It should provide for a process of continual evaluation
(Johnson, 1990).
During the operation of the program, formative evaluation occurs. This
process evaluates whether the program is occurring as planned and whether progress
is being made (Guskey, 1998). It also examines the alignment of the program with
the organizations educational philosophy and mission (Johnson, 1990) and looks to
52


see if the conditions necessary for the success of the program are being met. Finally,
at the conclusion of a professional development program summative evaluation
takes place. Here, judgments are made as to the overall success or value of the
program, and include descriptions of what has been accomplished, the consequences
of those actions as well as the final intended or unintended results were, and
whether the programs benefits justified its costs.
Role of Professional Development in the Church
If local churches desire to be effective, their leaders must attend to both the
formal and informal education of their people (Schuller, 1993). This process needs
to move from being teacher-centered to becoming learner-focused with the learner
controlling the pace and content of the learning (Hawkins, 1997). Thus, progressive
pastors recognize the need for, and are calling for, training for lay leaders (Nelson,
1998). Indeed, such progressive pastors acknowledge the need for innovation,
research, and education (Toler & Nelson, 1999).
Yet, the reality of the situation is that this is probably the most neglected
area of ministry (Toler & Nelson, 1999). For instance, teachers within the church
tend to use the lecture method of teaching, simply because they are untrained in
leading discussion (Slamp, 1998). By using denominational materials, the church
invests in the professional development of its lay leaders, representing a significant
investment in the human resources upon which churches depend (Hybels & Hybels,
53


1995). Churches must accept these inherent responsibilities if they strive to be
churches of excellence that glorify the Lord (Toler & Nelson, 1999). Slamp (1998)
states that The key is to carefully select and thoroughly train leaders, monitoring
their progress and dealing with problems as they arise (p. 116). It is through these
trained leaders that cultural formation takes place through the shared patterns of
thoughts, beliefs feelings and values that result from shared experience and common
learning (Schein, 1985, p. 50).
While outlining the application of Deming Principles to churches, Toler and
Nelson (1999) list five reasons to develop staff into what they call Professional
ministers. They state that trained staff members are more effective, more fulfilled,
less transient, attract quality associates and members, and raise the quality of
programs in which they are involved. Further, providing training opportunities for
lay leaders also helps these leaders feel as if they were paid staff, and helps them
accept responsibilities beyond the scope of simple congregational membership
(Nelson, 1998).
It is suggested that churches assist members in identifying their personal
spiritual gifts (Nelson, 1996). This process helps pastors avoid the process of filling
leadership vacancies with living, breathing bodies in order to give the appearance of
ministry within the body; and it allows pastors to wed a lay leaders strengths with
congregational needs (Nelson, 1996). Fulfilling this responsibility is clearly in line
54


with scriptures that remind us teach the concept of varying gifts and roles for the
purpose of building up the Body (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Likewise, development of the faith maturity of teachers is vital to the
effectiveness of the Sunday School as well as to the church (Roehlkepartain, 1993;
Schuller, 1993). As described by Schuller, mature faith has eight components: (a) a
trust in Gods saving grace and in the humanity and divinity of Jesus, (b) a sense of
personal security and peace, (c) an integration of faith and life, (d) a seeking of
spiritual growth, (e) a seeking to be an integral part of a community of believers, (f)
life-affirming values, (g) advocacy of change to bring about social justice, and (h)
service to humanity. The Effective Christian Education study discovered that the
faith maturity of teachers is low (Roehlkepartain, 1993). Only 32 percent of
childrens teachers demonstrated faith maturity, compared to 40 percent for teachers
of youth and 55 percent for teachers of adults (Benson & Eklin, 1990). Yet, it must
be remembered that the overwhelming and all-encompassing objective of the
church is total Christian maturity for all of its members (Gangel, 1981, p. 30).
Barriers to the professional development of lay leaders within the church
appears to begin in seminaries where theologians and professors, who feel that
Sunday School is beneath their noticeyet who prepare local ministers, tend to
ignore Sunday School and to facilitate the preparation of pastors so they might
provide adequate theological preparation for their parishioners (Juengst, 1998).
55


Finally, many of the professional development delivery systems found in
literature and discussed above, are also found in scripturewhere older, wiser
biblical leaders nurtured the development of younger leaders. Examples include
Moses who mentored Joshua, and Elijah who mentored Elisha. It seems that this
age-old process is an idea whose time has come, yet one for which the responsibility
falls upon the leadership of the church.
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CHAPTER 4
LEADERSHIP IN CHRISTIAN
LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS
The study of leadership during the 20th century has taken many pathsfrom
the Great Man theory to the transformational, moral leadership theory widely
accepted today (Rost, 1993). This chapter discusses the definitions of leadership put
forth by several leadership expertsfrom both secular and religious scholars. The
definition chosen for my work is identified, followed by a brief discussion of five
components of leadership imbedded in that definition. An overview of leadership is
presented that identifies leaders, examines frequently listed leadership functional
competencies, discusses the role of spirituality in leadership, and finally reviews the
issue of leadership vs. management. Then, parallels are drawn between secular
leadership and Christian leadership.
Why are Leaders Important?
Every organization has leaders. Some leaders sit as leaders because of the
positions that they hold or the authority that they wield. Others are called leaders
because they have an ability that is recognized by others; these others
57


look to the leaders for guidance and support. However they arrived, they are leaders,
and every organization has them. To the organization, these leaders fulfill important
roles. First, the effectiveness of the organization is their responsibility (Bennis,
1994). Second, the cultural values of the organization are created and guarded by
the leaders (Finzel, 1997). In Christian churches, pastors are usually viewed as the
leader. It becomes their responsibility, then, to cultivate a distinctly Christian culture
(Finzel, 1997). This becomes especially important since the values and beliefs of the
leaders are usually adopted by the followers (Finzel, 1997). One role of the
organization is to serve as a mentor for leaders, for it teaches them through its
behavior, while its values predominate the organization (Bennis, 1994). Perhaps
Maxwell (1995) states it best when he says, Grow a leadergrow the
organization (p. 4).
But it seems that those who write about leadership tend to emphasize issues
tangential to leadership, including the content of leadershiptasks and concepts
necessary for a person to influence another person. Often the actual process of
leadership is omitted (Rost, 1993). Indeed, Rost identifies as one of the basic
problems inherent in the study of leadership the inability to know and agree upon
what leadership is (1993, p. 14).
My review of leadership literature indicated that authors have indeed discussed
issues and tasks of leaders. Some have garnered and espoused the current theories of
experts, merely repackaging these in books with novel titles that are filled with
58


catch phrases. These authors have frequently sidestepped the issue, omitted a
concise definition of leadership, and thereby neglected to offer the reader a
structural foundation for their concepts. One reason for this dilemma is that writers
and practitioners seem to lack consensus on an accepted definition to be used.
Definitions and Components of Leadership
Leadership will determine the success of any organization (Maxwell, 1998).
Often it is seen as a behavior related to humans rather than as action founded on
ideas (Sergiovanni, 1992). Because some authorities believe that leadership is a
psychological process rather than a spiritual one, often bureaucratic, psychological,
and technical-rational authority seems to be emphasized while professional and
moral authority are neglected (Sergiovanni, 1992, pg. 3).
Even so, leadership appears to be a two-way processit incorporates actions
flowing between and among the participants. Rost (1993) explains it as an
influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes that
reflect their mutual purposes" (p. 102). Furthermore, he assumes that leadership is
based on an influencing relationship where anyone can be a leader or a follower,
and where each party participates actively.
Bums (1978), who defines leadership as . leaders inducing followers to
act for certain goals that represent the values and the motivationsthe wants and
needs, the aspirations and expectationsof both leaders and followers (p. 19),
59


stresses that leadership cannot be separated from the needs and goals of the
followers and the reciprocal nature of the relationship. However, this concept is
challenged by Bama (1997a) who maintains that one may be aroused by a leader
who promises to satisfy her/his motives, needs, and wantsincluding those that are
personalbut that one may not actually be a follower of that particular leader. In
this situation, it is possible that the timing of the leadership action may have
occurred after or simultaneously with some other motivation experienced by the
participant, and, therefore, the actual leadership activity did not cause the
satisfaction of wants/needs involved (Bama, 1997a).
Gangel (1981) defines Christian leadership as . . the exercise by a
Christian member of the group of certain qualities and abilities given by the Spirit of
God and based in Christian character, which at any given time, acting upon the call
of God and the authority of His Word, he will offer in loving service to the group
for the sake of Christ, in order to facilitate the change of group behavior in the
direction of Christlikeness and toward the achieving of the eternal goals of His
church" (p. 101). Gangel (1997) maintains that the focus of Christian leadership is
on the human resources of the organization and that it is a learned behavior that is
akin to Bums (1978) transactional leadership with a high capacity of becoming
transformational leadership. And as these leaders deliberately decentralize programs
and push authority downward through the organization, they function more
biblically. He continues, May He [God] also deliver us from thinking that Bible
60


knowledge and spiritual lifestyle somehow substitute for competence in leading a
Christian organization (p. 34).
While not offering a concise definition of leadership, Follett does explain
that leadership, when well executed, transforms experience into power and then into
control (Graham, 1996). According to Follett, it is the function of creating and
directing power that forms the core of leadership, while the leader and the followers
pursue their common purpose. It should be noted that such use of power, influence,
and authority is not coercive; in fact, leaders and followers must continually guard
against allowing it to become so (Rost, 1993). Through this process, leaders train
followers to become leaders themselves.
Meanwhile, Christian leadership experts seem to proliferate. Some commit
the same fallacy of omitting concise definitions, while a few do offer their own
definition. Toler (1997), an esteemed Nazarene leadership scholar defines
leadership simply as ". . that ability to influence" (p. 31). The incompleteness of
his definition omits any reference to those being influenced. Hybels & Hybels
(1995) do not define leadership yet contend that leading is active, prompting
people to leap out of their chairs and declare, Thats not just a good idea, its a
compelling mission for me to commit my life to! (149).
Along these same lines, Clinton and Clinton (1997) define a leader as
"... a person with a God-given capacity and a God-given responsibility who is
influencing a specific group of God's people toward God's purposes for the group"
61


(p. 163), but not the concept of leadership itself. And Bama (1997a) sidesteps the
defining of leadership and goes on to define a leader:
So, the preferred definition . includes five key attributes. A leader
is one who mobilizes; one whose focus is influencing people; a
person who is goal driven; someone who has an orientation in
common with those who rely upon him for leadership; and someone
who has people willing to follow them. (p. 23)
Both of the previous definitions resound of Rosts definition and Bums definition
of transformational leadership.
The definition adopted for my work reflects the thoughts of both Bums
(1978) and Rost (1993) and is presented by Nelson, a protege of Rost. Nelson
(1996) defines leadership as ... a relational process, whereby individuals grant
special influence to one or more persons, who in turn catalyze the group to pursue
intended changes [emphasis added] (p. 49). Nelson proceeds beyond the definition
to state that the leaders who will take us into the twenty-first century will need to
step away from the hierarchical, authoritarian style of leadership to leadership
characterized by interdependence, sensitivity to people, and sharing of ideas and
information" (1996, p. 21). The forward thinking of this author, as well as his
philosophy of a needed perceptional shift, describes what I have viscerally felt about
leadership. Components of leadership, as thus defined and examined here, include
group, relational process, influence, motivation, and intended change.
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Group
It is recognized, certainly, that followers are one of the integral components
of these seminal definitions of leadership (Bama, 1997a; Bums, 1978; Nelson,
1996; Rost, 1993). Occasionally called collaborators, followers are non-leaders
involved in the leadership process (Nelson, 1996). Follett (Graham,1996) presents
an interesting concept of followers as those who follow the invisible leaderthe
common goal. Yet, followers are not subordinates but are self-managed persons
who are committed to the shared vision or goal (Sergiovanni, 1992) and who assist
the leaders in keeping control of a given situation (Graham, 1996). Conversely, it is
the leaders understanding of the wants and needs of the followers, and of their joint
mission that best predict the leaders ability to mold a team (Bennis, 1994).
The effectiveness of the followers is determined by the leader (Finzel, 1997).
Thus, leaders train followers to be leaders, and in doing so prepare them for change
and show them what is needed to fulfill their responsibilities in the joint venture
(Graham, 1996). Further, followers leam from leaders and leaders leam from
followers (Gangel, 1997). Graham (1996) quotes Mary Parker Follett
As one of those led we have a part in leadership.. . following is a
very small part of what the other members of a group have to do.. .,
the members of a group are not so much following a leader as
helping to keep him in control of a situation, (pp. 170-171)
This concept forges a powerful image of the responsibility of the follower, and the
reciprocal nature of followership with leadership. In certain instances, it may be
63


impossible to distinguish the leaders from the followers; in fact, effective
followership is actually a form of leadership when both parties are committed to the
same vision and values (Sergiovanni, 1992). So it is that participants should lead
when it is appropriate for them to do so, and follow with following is appropriate
(Greenleaf, 1977).
A shortage of Christian leaders with appropriate leadership skills is often
apparent in churches; even Jesus declared that the laborers were few (Matthew 9:37-
38). Sayes and Rice (1978) identified in the process of recruiting lay leaders for
Christs work these three basic leadership problems: (a) Using people with
inadequate training for the task given them, (b) overworking a small group of
laypersons in the church, and (c) recognizing the numbers of non-committed laity
within the church. To ameliorate these obstacles, they called for pre-service training
that entails self-growth, knowledge of the faith, and skill in leadership. Once laity
are assigned, Sayes and Rice recommend inservice training through informal means
such as mentoring and apprenticeships, as well as more formal training through
specially designed courses.
Relational Process
To understand the process of leadership, it is important to recognize the
component of relationship. Without the followers, leaders would have no one to
influence, no one to lead. Additionally, with no leader, followers are simply a group
64


of persons (Bums, 1978). Therefore, leadership requires two or more participants
who work together in some form of relationship toward some intended change. The
reciprocity forged helps instill dignity and commitment to shared vision among
leaders and followers. This should create a non-coercive influence relationship
which allows leaders and followers to lead together toward mutual purposes (Rost,
1993). While leaders are expected to nurture followers, strengthen them and build
their loyalty, a true Christian leader accepts responsibility and cares for her/his
followers, and will, therefore, share power, listen carefully to the followers, and will
praise followers attempts at risk-taking (Gangel, 1981; Greenleaf, 1977).
Simultaneously, followers are expected to offer support and encouragement to the
leader in order to help the leader successfully achieve the common goal (Matusak,
1997).
Influence
The third component of true leadership is influence. Influence may be
informal, or hidden, it may even be unauthorized (Bames & Kriger, 1986).
Nevertheless, the greater ones influence, the greater their leadership (Towns, 1997).
Increasing ones influence for the benefit of the entire group is one of the goals of
the leader (Nelson, 1996). This influence is not inherent in positional authority, but
evolves from the leaders platform-the role he/she assumes as an inherent part of
their leadership as well as from the shared goal (Bames & Kriger, 1986). The
65


influence of the leader is multidirectionalflowing vertically and horizontally,
impacting those within the relationship who surround the leader (Bums, 1978).
Often when one assesses the group, it becomes apparent that the leader has
attracted followers who are leaders in their own right (and who I call leader-
followers). This occurs because both the leaders and these followers think alike
like leaders (Maxwell, 1995). These leader-followers become known as influencers
of others in the group, and it becomes vital for leaders to build a strong rapport with
them (Huffaker, 1998). Using a tactic called social banking, leaders are able to call
upon these influencers when their support is vitally needed (Nelson, 1996). It works
like this: deposits are made into their social banking accounts when something
good happens for which the leader is somehow involved. Withdrawals occur when
the leader maintains an expectation of the account holder. It is the mechanism used
by the leader to create the cultural values that will become the hallmark of the group
(Finzel, 1997). This influence, then, is not to be confused with power, authority or
coercion, where one party is feels powerless to act autonomously, that may be
components of certain leadership situations. But rather, it is a tool used to persuade
others to ones perspective on the common goal (Clinton & Clinton, 1997; Rost,
1993). Influence rests on the integrity, credibility, reputation and track record of the
leader (Rost, 1993) and evokes motivation. It is the one behavior considered the
ethical leadership behavior (Rost).
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Motivation
While theorists offer many synonymsmotivation, inducement, or
catalyzingthe concept remains the same. It is the act of motivating that
differentiates leadership from coercion (Bums 1978). This action reflects the
leaders ability to harness the power of the group, unleash their special gifts,
persuade members to accept their responsibilities, and mold them into a team
(Graham, 1996; Hybels & Hybels, 1995). This cannot be accomplished using forms
of follow me leadership that tend to be uninspiring and that sublimate followers
into subordinates (Sergiovanni, 1992). Rather, the leader is able, through some
means, to move the followers in a common direction toward a shared, collective
goal. It is the process of how the team will achieve that goal (Gangel, 1997), as
reflected in the fifth component, intended changes.
Intended Changes
Whether called intended changes, goals, or purposes, leadership must
include some form of common vision toward which the participants are collectively
moving (Bums, 1978). Often that vision includes changean activity that allows an
organization to grow (Handy, 1990; Towns, 1997). In fact, an organization only
needs leadership when changes are desired (Nelson, 1996). Rost (1993) succinctly
states:
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The core of leadership goes on before changes are implemented.
Leadership is the process wherein leaders and followers decide what
changes they intend to implement in an organization. The crucial
time for people to make ethical judgments about the content of
leadership is the time at which decisions concerning proposed
changes are being made. (p. 168)
However, as Gangel (1981) states, unless the leader has clear goals in relation to the
direction of an innovation and the results of that innovation, he or she should not
attempt innovations. And because of the fear and anxiety inherent in the process of
change, the leader should communicate this information clearly to the group in
order to help them manage and reduce their anxiety.
An important component in change is the implication that the pursuit of
intended change, often accompanies an intention to successfully accomplish those
changes, and indicates that the group is actively pursuing the changes (Nelson,
1996). As part of this process, the leader must assess the climate of the organization
and prepare the group to accept and welcome change (Nelson, 1998). He or she
must be prepared to deal with the inevitable conflict that change brings (Bolman &
Deal, 1997; Evans, 1996).
In planning the process of change, then, a leader should start with the what
and the why [of change], not the how (Nelson, 1998, p. 172). To be successful, the
what and the why need to address systemic issues that will alter the behaviors and
norms of the group; these changes would be second-order changes and actually alter
the core goals and norms. Once preparations are complete, the leader and followers
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can and must move ahead toward implementation (Nelson). Also, a leader will
recognize that when change is rapid, no single individual can expect to serve
continually as leader (Matusak, 1997).
Accompanying change is conflict, an ingredient inherent in both the change
process and the leadership process. Conflict often arises in response to the loss
participants experience as their senses of comfort and continuity are threatened; they
actually grieve for the loss (Evans, 1996). This loss is especially painful when the
change is not sought by them, but is rather sought from or required of the
participants (Evans, 1996). Additionally, change creates feelings of incompetence,
creates confusion, and re-ignites sleeping or hidden conflicts and resentments
(Bolman & Deal, 1997).
Who are the Leaders?
Are leaders bom with an inherent ability that others do not have, or can
people leam to be leaders? Matusak (1997) believes that every person has an innate
power and ability to lead (p. 5). She states that success in leadership is almost
guaranteed to those who discover their gifts and talents and apply them to
something they are passionate about (p. 5). Certain necessary skills, such as
visioning and communicating, can be learned or must be acquired in order to be the
leader (Bennis, 1994; Graham, 1996; Matusak, 1997). It is also generally accepted
that Christian leaders have a heart for God and have been called by God, and have
69


been given a special vision (Bama, 1997b; Ford, 1997). Leaders are molded most
often by themselves through experience rather than by any external means such as
leadership courses (Bennis, 1994). Thus, optimistic evidence is available that one
does not require divine appointment in order to be a leader; but rather, if a person
has a willing, teachable heart, leadership can be learned (Matusak, 1997; Nelson,
1996).
Functional Competencies of Leadership
While no universally accepted definition of leadership exists, the
characteristics of a leader seem to forge a high degree of agreement. Among these
characteristics or competencies that appear and reappear in the literature are vision,
ethics or character, influence, communication skills, continual learning lifestyle;
these provide a frame upon which to hang the actual leadership activities. Cogent
characteristics for this study include vision, communication skills, change agency,
continuous learning, sound character, ability to empower, and spirituality. These
few were selected for examination because of the frequency with which they are
discussed in Christian leadership literature.
Vision. Nearly always, the casting of vision is listedthat is, a big picture of
the future that a leader wishes to create (Senge, 1998). Without a clear vision,
participants cannot understand how the organization will function in the future or
[have] a clear rationale for changes in roles, responsibilities and relationships they
70


are being asked to make (Beer et al., 1990, p. 93). Christian leaders seek Gods
vision for their ministry (Bama, 1997b). Such God-given vision allows for holistic,
consistent and transforming action (Bama, 1997b, p. 51). A key component of
learning organizations (Senge, 1994), it is anticipated that the leaders translate the
vision into the organizational goals-what can be accomplished and assessed
(Senge, 1998). This concept complements Finzels (1997) assertion that leaders are
the keeper[s] of the organizational climate in your organization" (p. 261-262).
Thus, the leader establishes the tone for the group. Bama (1997b) points out that to
do so requires that the leader (a) understand the concept of vision, (b) understand
the content of the vision, (c) claim the vision, (d) make it real through defining a
vision statement and a mission statement, (e) use it to inspire others to act on the
vision, (f) sell it to constituents, (g) implement the vision, (h) refine it, and (i)
reinforce it. Vision also allows a leader to see leadership potential in others,
facilitating the characteristics of empowerment and influence.
Constmcted on the shared values of the group, the vision focuses on a
preferable future that is communicated to the group (Bama, 1997b; Hybels &
Hybels, 1995). True leaders understand how to communicate that vision to others
(Nelson, 1996). Nelson also contends that three qualities can be used to rate the
significance of vision: (a) intensityhow important and how urgent the vision is;
(b) clarity; and (c) size. Finally, to become a visionary leader requires the
cultivation of certain skills. Among those skills are (a) allowing yourself to dream;
71


(b) involving all who might be affected by the vision; (c) understanding that leading
is closely tied to following; and (d) establishing a jointly- charted plan for achieving
the vision that is well designed (Matusak, 1997).
Communication. Communication is another a key competency that is often
listed; leaders must not only listen with their ears, but with their hearts. The ability
to do so helps eliminate credibility and perceptional problems that might occur
(Covey, 1992). A servant leader always listens first, and a non-servant leader who
aspires to become a natural servant can facilitate that growth through the discipline
of learning to listening first (Greenleaf, 1977). Getz (1997) reminds us that a leader
listens in a non-argumentative, non-defensive, and non-threatening way (p. 93).
Additionally, listening is one of two avenues for leaders to stave off
institutionalization and stagnation (Finzel, 1997, p. 271). The other way
learningis discussed later in this chapter.
Indeed, the difference between a person who has dreams and a leader may
lie in the leaders ability to successfully communicate the vision to the followers
(Nelson, 1996). Matusak (1997) adds that,
If we initiate and require open dialogue among all the existing levels
of leadership, then every level will have a good deal to do with what
goes on at every other level. This defines the characteristics of a
good citizen; it also defines some of the attributes of good leadership.
(p. 10)
She continues that the best expressions of leadership communicate a sense of
inspiration, unity, and energy to members (p. 59).
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Change agency. The competency of being a change agent seems to be
valued, it is also expected that this agent focus change on the mission of the
organization (Senge, 1998). More effective renewal efforts occur when top
managers devote substantial energy to monitoring the quality of those efforts (Beer
et al., 1990). Thus, a change agentone who is described as one who recognizes
what to change, why change must happen, and how to mobilize the necessary
resources to accomplish the needed change (Nelson, 1996, p. 9)is needed. One
key indicator that a change agent is truly a leader is in the support given to the
implementation of innovations through budgeting (Guskey, 1990).
This role requires commitment, a passion for making a difference, and
courage (Matusak, 1997). Many times, those who act as change agents, with their
many ideas and enthusiasm, seem to be radical (Nelson, 1998). But these
characteristics are important, as are (a) an urge to be innovative, (b) an above-
average passion for principle, (c) a low need for affirmation, (d) high levels of
curiosity, and (e) a track record of mastering failure (Murren, 1997).
Continuous learner. Leaders learn from their experiences and set a standard
of continual learning among the participants. In addition to encompassing formal
and informal learning, continuous learning also includes learning and unlearning
based on encountered experiences (Bennis, 1994; Clinton & Clinton, 1997;
Matusak, 1997). Leaders exemplify innovative learningthe ability to recognizing
existing contexts, and imagining future contexts (Bennis, 1994). A form of creative
73


problem solving, innovative learning includes anticipation, learning by listening,
and participation (Bennis, 1994). Continuous learning is a life-time pursuit
(Maxwell, 1995) and allows a leader to fill the gaps in their knowledge base through
reading and reflection upon what has been read (Bennis, 1994).
Sound character. When describing the requirements for being a leader in the
New Testament Church, Paul tells Timothy that a leader must sensible, above
reproach, well thought of by outsiders (I Timothy 3:2-7). Sound character flows at
the level of a Christian leaders relationship to God and helps the leader build the
trust of followers (Hayford, 1997). It relates to leading like Jesus with character and
style (Ford, 1997) and morally pure (Getz, 1997). Listed under this topic of sound
character is the concept of values or morals. Bums (1978) lists here prudence,
honor, courage, civility, honesty, fairness (p. 75). Whatever their names, these
affective, ephemeral characteristics are difficult to grasp; they have various
meanings steeped in the experiences and perceptions of each individual. And while
it is difficult to define sound character, a lack of sound character is easily identified,
and is a primary reason leaders fail (Nelson, 1996).
Ability to empower. The final competency is a recurring theme of a leaders
ability to empower others. By pushing authority downward and empowering the
followers, the group can collectively reach higher levels of achievement (Nelson,
1996), and truly demonstrate biblical leadership (Gangel, 1997). Giving up this part
74


of themselves requires that the leader feel secure and have a high belief in other
people (Maxwell, 1998). And because they are not threatened by others, they
empower others to reach and work at their full potential, thus multiplying the
leaders effectiveness (Maxwell, 1995).
To hold tight to the control inherent in leadership destroys morale.
Therefore, leaders are obligated, by the trust invested from their followers, to allow
all participants to have authority and ownership over some part of the work
(Finzel, 1997, p. 273). Paradoxically, leaders are developing the followers through
this process, while at the same time the leaders are being developed through the
followers (Gangel, 1997). In fact, followers may not follow leaders who have not
proven themselves to be trusted as followers (Greenleaf, 1977).
Spirituality in Leadership
Many scholars agree that an element of ethical behavior is necessary for
leaders. Even secular authors include a facet of spirituality in their concepts. Often,
though, it is referred to as servant leadership or moral authority (Sergiovanni,
1992). This does not imply that leaders are to be slaves, rather that those who are
providing godly leadership are serving those who follow (Bama, 1997a). Bennis
(1994) calls it integrity (p. 39). Hayford (1997) affirms this in a slightly different
way:
j
i
1
1
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Possession of godly character, alone, assures true fruit, lasting
influence and durable leadership.. . Our human disposition finds it
easier to spend time "tweaking systems" than prioritizing honest-to-
God introspection and constant availability to transformation, (p. 62-
63)
Throughout Christian leadership literature, the emphasis remains on
a leaders being called by God and leading with evidence of Christian
character as prerequisites to the functional characteristics required (Bama,
1997a, Ford, 1997). Repeatedly, leaders are reminded that the vision must
not be theirs, but Gods, and that obedience to Gods will is essential (Bama,
1997b). Additionally, Christian leaders are called to follow the leadership
style of Jesus (Ford, 1997).
One of the most enlightening concepts of leadership frequently found in
Christian literature is finishing well. This concept holds that leaders who do finish
well have maintained a vibrant personal relationship with God throughout their
leadership, have continually learned through their experiences, have given evidence
of Christ-likeness in their character, have lived the truth of their convictions, have
left a lasting legacy, have experienced a sense of destiny and witnessed some of
their legacy fulfilled (Clinton & Clinton, 1997). Such leaders have maintained a
broad perspective of situations, and have usually had a mentor to lean upon.
Whether in a Christian arena or the secular world, leaders and leadership are
parallel. The issues, concepts, and requirements are similar. Most Christian leaders
attribute their leadership as coming from God, and seek to maintain a servants heart
76


while guiding His people toward His vision for them (Bama, 1997a). This parallels
moral leadership as expressed by Bums (1978) and Sergiovanni (1992).
As in other organizations, Christian leaders experience the troublesome
challenge of status quo enhanced by denominational bureaucracy. These work
cooperatively to hinder innovation and change which, we have seen, are necessary
components of leadership (Nelson, 1996). Only true, effective leadership is capable
of challenging the organizational culture and of shaping that culture for optimal
success in achieving the shared goal (Finzel, 1997).
And as all leaders are obligated to maintain integrity, Christian leaders are
also compelled to maintain an implied high standard of integrity and character
which followers and bystanders expect to be visible. Hayford (1997) sums it up, A
leader's character will never rise beyond the flow level of his obedience to the Holy
Spirit's dealings with the heart (p. 70). Additionally, the vision of a Christian leader
often begins with their churchs history, is first communicated to church leaders,
focuses on the needs of others, and includes "biblical priorities that connect to goals
and strategies drawn up by the leadership" (Toler, 1997, p.43). Finally, Gangel
(1987) sums it up: In reality, Christian leadership ought to be characterized by all
the legitimate earmarks of effective secular leadership plus the factors which make
it distinctively Christian (p. 95).
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CHAPTER 5
METHODOLOGY
The design of any research study complements the research questions and is
optimally efficient, powerful, valid, and reliable (Goodwin & Goodwin, 1999, p.
55). Thus, the design for this study uses a combination of qualitative and
quantitative methods. Qualitative and quantitative methodologies can be called
inseparable (Trochim, 1999), and using them together in one study gives a
completeness (Trochim). By using combined strategies, a more detailed and
comprehensive view of the current state of Sunday School teacher preparation in the
Church of the Nazarene was provided while enhancing the validity of the study.
This type of marriage is not unique in educational research, for quantitative
techniques allow input from many people while the qualitative data provide rich,
detailed information from a smaller sample (Patton, 1990). Morse (1999) holds that
qualitative-quantitative triangulation is especially appropriate for studies where a
lack of previous theory or research exists. While discussion of the necessity for
training for Sunday School teachers appears in literature, little concrete research has
evolved from those discussions.
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Validity Issues
The use of these two methodologies should provide for validation as a search
for areas of intersection and congruence among collected data is completed
(Goodwin & Goodwin, 1999). This combination also ensures a comprehensive
approach is taken to solve a research problem, thus strengthening results and
contributing to the development of theory and knowledge (Morse, 1999, p. 61).
Design
With these ideas in mind, the study addresses the question, What would be
the ideal program for the development of Sunday School teachers in the Church of
the Nazarene? To address this question, Sunday School teachers and
superintendents were surveyed to determine how they perceive a need for training
(Appendices B and C respectively). Next, the content of the Teach 2000 conference
materials were analyzed using the coding matrix (Appendix A) to identify key
concepts revealed in the literature review, specifically (a) content, (b) context, and
(c) delivery concepts. Finally, using data derived from the Stage One surveys, a
Delphi process was conducted. It was anticipated that during the process important
issues about the preparation of Sunday School teachers would be agreed upon for
future recommendation to the denominational headquarters. Each of these stages is
discussed in depth later in this chapter.
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These multiple methods complement the primary and four sub-questions of
this study: Is the professional development of lay Sunday School teachers
appropriate, in terms of concepts, context, and delivery systems, to the role that they
are expected to play in the continuous building of the Church of the Nazarene? The
sub-questions are (a) What contextual issues should be addressed in a model of
professional development for Church of the Nazarene Sunday School teachers? (b)
What content issues should be addressed in a model of professional development for
Church of the Nazarene Sunday School teacher? (c) How can church leaders
facilitate the delivery of this model? (d) How can the organizational design of our
churches facilitate professional development of Sunday School teachers, and thus,
our culture?
Subjects
As discussed in Chapter 2, the Church of the Nazarene is divided into
geographic regions. The sample population of Sunday School teachers and
superintendents to be studied, all volunteers, was drawn from the congregations in
the three Michigan districts: Eastern Michigan, Michigan, and Northern Michigan.
These three districts include congregations of all sizes in communities ranging from
small rural communities, metropolitan suburban communities, to urban communities
with a full spectrum of socio-economic factors. Table 5.1 shows the number of
churcheseach with one Sunday School superintendent assigned and the number of
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Sunday School teachers and officers for the year 2001-2002 (the latest data
available) for each district.
Table 5.1.
Demographic Data for Church of the Nazarene Michigan Districts
Churches (One Sunday School Superin- tendent Each) Average Sunday Worship Attendance Ethnicity of Churches Sunday School Officers and Teachers
Eastern Michigan 75 11,402 African American 935
District Michigan 79 9,675 White/English Speaking African American 1,021
District Northern Michigan 33 2,251 American Indian White/English Speaking White/English Speaking 253
District Total 187 23,328 2,209
been confirmed in conversations with each of the three district superintendents
involved. From these three districts, with more than 100 congregations, ample
81


response provided a solid data base for thorough analysis of data that is valid and
directly applicable to the denomination (Hoge, 1996).
Data CollectionStage One: Surveys
The first stage of this project was to survey the Sunday School teachers and
Sunday School superintendents of these churches using a short written
questionnaire. This process sought to gather a wide range of initial data to be used to
develop questions and methods that were used in later stages of the research
(Marshall & Rossman, 1999). One district superintendent had requested to distribute
the surveys because he felt that he had more authority and would facilitate a higher
return rate. It is possible, though, that this hands-on participation might have caused
respondents to feel coerced and therefore resist responding forthrightly.
Further, I assumed that the Sunday School teachers and superintendents who
were surveyed were effectively literateable to read the
survey and interpret the questions. I also anticipated response to the mailed surveys
to be adequate (Fowler, 1993). This study was strongly endorsed by many levels of
the Church of the Nazarenefrom headquarters staff, through district
superintendents, to pastors of local churches; this support has, in the past,
engendered success for other denominational studies.
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These initial surveys were carefully constructed to gain data directly related
to the questions of this study and thus to explore the teachers and superintendents
attitudes and beliefs about professional development (Ammerman, Carroll, Dudley,
& McKinney, 1998). Teachers surveys (see Appendix B) were mailed to either the
Sunday School superintendents for each of the congregations or the previously
mentioned district superintendent. Included was a color-coded survey for the
Sunday School superintendent (Appendix C) and copies of teachers surveys for that
Sunday School superintendent to distribute. The number of surveys sent was
determined by the number of Sunday School teachers and officers reported in each
districts 2002 Annual Assembly Journal, compiled within the districts and
published by the Nazarene Publishing House.
This process inherently presents a validity issue since respondents were not
technically randomly selected (Ammerman et al., 1998) because Sunday School
superintendents and/or pastors might selectively distribute the surveys only to those
they consider best qualified to respond and not to every teacher.
Included were pre-addressed, postage-paid envelopes to facilitate return of
the surveys had been anticipated to be 50 percent. However, the return rate was
extremely low with 10 percent of teachers and 13.90 percent of superintendents
responding. Actual return data follows in Table 5.2.
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Table 5.2
Initial Surveys Sent and Returned
Survey Type Surveys Sent Usable surveys Blank surveys
returned returned
N N % N %
Sunday School 2,209 221 10.00 89 4.03
Teachers
Sunday School Superintendents 187 26 13.90 9 4.81
Several advantages and disadvantages are inherent in this method. For
instance, by having respondents return questionnaires directly to me, they may be
more willing to respond candidly to open questions than they would if their surveys
were returned to an administrator and then to me (Fowler, 1993). Certain limitations
to this procedure also exist, including the typically low return rate for mailed
surveys. It was hoped that the endorsement of the district superintendents and the
leaders of the denominations Sunday School Ministries Department would mitigate
this deficiency.
These initial cross-sectional surveys inquired in a combination of open and
closed formats. Closed questions indicated how long teachers and superintendents
had been teaching and at what grade level. Other questions asked them to rate their
perceptions of a need for training using a five-point Likert scale. The concepts upon
which these questions were derived are those identified by Benson and Elkin (1990)
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as indicators of effective Christian education. Using this material as a foundation
increases the validity of my study. The final query asked respondents to list five
issues related to Sunday School teacher preparation that concerned them.
Information obtained from the respondents might be issues that had not been
anticipated by me (Fowler, 1993). Table 5.3, on page 86, identifies the source of
each question.
Because the Sunday School teachers and superintendents are front-line
servants, each surveyed teacher and superintendent was asked to volunteer for the
Delphi process (Stage Three). Delphi participants were selected randomly from
affirmative responses; six Sunday School teachers and three Sunday School
superintendents from each Michigan district were invited to participate in the Delphi
rounds with along with three Christian Education professors from Nazarene
institutions of higher education. Thus, their voices continued to be heard throughout
the entire research process.
Data CollectionStage Two: Content Analysis
The second stage of research commenced with content analysis of training
materials currently used by the Church of the Nazarene. Content analysis is defined
by Marshall and Rossman (1999) as a method for describing and interpreting the
artifacts of a society or social group (p. 117).
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I
Table 5.3
Survey Questions Derived from Benson and Elkin, 1990
Questions Source
1-3 Foundations Needed for Effective Christian Education Teacher Training
4 Foundations needed for Effective Christian Education Teacher Faith Formation
5-6 Foundations Needed for Effective Christian Education Planning
7 Foundations Needed for Effective Christian Education- Governing Body Support
8-10 Foundations Needed for Effective Christian Education Pastor
11-17 Foundations Needed for Effective Christian Education Evaluation
18 Foundations Needed for Effective Christian Education Teacher Recognition
19 Foundations Needed for Effective Christian Education Coordination of Study
20-23 Effectiveness in Christian Education for AdultsEducational Content
For this study, the Teach 2000 conference materials were studied. In
anticipation of this process, I attended the Teach 2000 conference in Sacramento,
California, as an observer-participant, registering under a pseudonym to avoid
86
i


recognition by the Sunday School Ministries staff that facilitates this conference.
My attendance at this conference was approved by the denominations Director of
Sunday School Ministries, and he agreed that the pseudonym would allow me to
analyze the program without any alterations by the staff simply because they knew
that they would be observed. Throughout the year, the Teach 2000 conference was
held in 22 North American cities and offered training by denominational specialists
in such areas as instructional techniques and learning styles across the human
developmental stages from childhood through adulthood. Field notes were prepared
during the sessions.
Additionally, the materials received at the conference and audio tapes of all
workshop sessions were transcribed and coded, that is clumped into categories
before analyzing the meaning of the information and applying a label to those
categories (Cresswell, 2003). Next, the information within the categories was
analyzed (Appendix A shows the coding matrix). Margin space was used for note
taking. Specifically, I looked for teacher-preparation techniques that relate to
concepts, context, and delivery systems and that are acknowledged to be effective
using the information derived through professional literature, as reviewed in
previous chapters, as well as the preliminary research questions that have been
identified.
The content analysis was conducted on the presentations of the final Teach
2000 convention. It is possible that, because it was the last time this material was
87