This dissertation attempts to identify the key traits, characteristics, and qualities of high effective United Methodist Church clergy. The experimental study employed a mixed methods design, with a quantitative component that compared high effective and low effective clergy on the dimensions of their Emotional Intelligence using the BarOn Assessment, leadership qualities using the Leadership Practices Inventory, church size and vitality, and finally, self identification as to leadership abilities and ministry effectiveness. It also included a qualitative component in the form of in-depth interviews with high effective United Methodist Church clergy on their leadership traits, characteristics, and qualities. The dissertation's quantitative findings include a significant correlation at the .05 level on the Emotional Intelligence of highly effective UMC clergy as compared to low effective UMC clergy. On the Leadership Practices Inventory between highly effective and low effective clergy, the conclusions are mixed and inconclusive. The study did find a significant difference at the .05 level between highly effective UMC clergy as compared to low effective UMC clergy on both the size and vitality of the churches that they serve and the self-ranking of their personal leadership and ministry effectiveness. The qualitative research identified 11 key traits, characteristics and qualities that highly effective clergy demonstrate, and a 12th factor that demonstrates situation and context making a difference in one's leadership, but highlighting the ability of these leaders to adapt and change. The dissertation concludes with some major recommendations of the findings to the United Methodist Church and other mainline denominations, as well as suggestions for future research.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; United Methodist Church (U.S.) -- Clergy

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rhodes, Kent;