Leadership is a challenge for almost every organization. Like everyone else, the church is faced with similar challenges. Being leaders of the local congregation, pastors are the key element in church leadership. Church members are demanding more of their pastors than ever. Many pastors feel ill-prepared for these tasks. The theological seminary has been the primary place to prepare church leaders to do ministry. Previous researchers have stated that there is compelling evidence that many theological seminaries were not appropriately preparing men and women for the job the local congregation expects them to do for the church. The purpose of this study is to explore whether theological seminaries make leadership learning explicit through course offerings. The study is grounded in related literature on the foundation of leadership and attempts to determine the leadership components of a graduate education in Divinity. The curriculum of the Master's of Divinity program from 10 theological seminaries are examined using catalog content analysis to determine the extent that theological seminaries offer leadership courses to their students to prepare them for future ministry. This is a qualitative study, semantically focused upon the vocabularies in the catalogs. Semantic feature analysis is used with quadrilateral instruments acting as data collection tools. The investigation revealed that graduate studies in Divinity do not universally offer leadership as a component of their curricula. The investigation concluded that the majority of theological seminaries have placed more emphasis on Biblical and theological education. This emphasis did not focus on leadership-skills development. Students were left to make the critical decision on taking leadership courses to prepare for their future ministry. For further study, the researcher recommends replicating this investigation with a larger and more representative sampling of theological seminaries from many more denominations.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Theological seminaries -- United States; Leadership; Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rhodes, Kent