Keith E. Hall


Historically, African-American ministers in the United States have played a central role in preaching a message of hope and leading African-American parishioners on a journey to discover greater lives of purpose and power. As the needs of members and complexity of ministry increases, African-American ministers are encountering demand that requires a proven style of leadership that produces positive results. Recent literature suggests that transformational leadership has a positive influence on social systems and the overall behavior of followers (Bass, 1998). The purpose of this quantitative study was to evaluate the self-assessed transformational leadership practices of African-American Church of Christ pulpit ministers at predominantly Church of Christ fellowships in Nashville, TN as identified by the Leadership Practice Inventory (LPI) by Kouzes and Posner. The study investigated the five practices of exemplary leadership as measured by the LPI which included the following: (a) modeling the way, (b) inspiring a shared vision, (c) enabling others to act, (d) challenging the process, and (e) encouraging the heart. The study also assessed ministers' demographic characteristics which included age, level of education, total years of service as a paid minister, total number of churches they served as a paid minister, years of service as a minister at their current congregation, congregational size of the church where ministers currently serve, and previous participation in leadership training. Lastly, assessed transformational leadership practices were evaluated to discover the percentage of African-American pulpit ministers at predominantly African-American Churches of Christ in Nashville, TN that provided leadership behavior scores that rank as high (at 70th percentile) according to established standards by Kouzes and Posner. The findings of the study revealed that participating pulpit ministers are well-experienced as paid ministers. The vast majority of participating pulpit ministers received leadership training from local sources such as schools of preaching, mentors, workshops, conferences, and seminars. Results from Leadership Practice Inventory (LPI) indicated that participating African-American pulpit ministers practice model the way and encourage the heart transformational leadership behaviors at a significantly high level. However, other leadership behaviors measured by the LPI which include inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process, and enabling others to act tend to be practiced to a lesser degree.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Transformational leadership; Churches of Christ -- Clergy; African Americans

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rhodes, Kent;