Wednesday, July 21, 2021

My First Academic Publication!

After about 15 months of enthusiastic emails back and forth with several people from my alma mater, Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU), through a pandemic, and with shifting personnel (yes personnel, but actually, personal, as well) and priorities, I am thankful to God to announce that my Master's thesis is now published! It has been a long road and another lesson in patience. In fact, so much time had gone by, and life continued to happen, that I had placed this project in the back of my mind. That is, until this morning's wonderful and unexpected reminder!

I usually check my personal calendar and email first thing in the morning, but this morning, I had other things to do first so I didn't even think to check my personal email (still checked the calendar, though). I had no idea of the blessing I was about to become aware of.

I first thought about trying to get my thesis published shortly after I submitted it to my professor for final review, having Googled whether students actually do publish them. Appreciating the question, he guided me to one person, who then guided me to someone else. After much work, many emails, and getting more people at Indiana Wesleyan University involved, my thesis was published in the Indiana Wesleyan University Institutional Repository. This digital Repository contains scholarly work created by IWU faculty, staff, and students, and the contents are made available to anyone and everyone around the world. To Jay Wise, Dean of Off-Campus Library Services (IWU), and Pam Childers, Jackson Library’s System and Web Librarian, thank you so very much!

The purpose of my research on "Followers’ Perceptions of the Pastor’s Servant Leadership and its Influence on the Congregants’ Ministries and Secular Work" was to explore the level of organizational commitment of long-time congregants of the Word of Faith Church across secular and ministry work to gain an understanding of the motivating factors for their organizational commitment. Based on the congregants’ perceptions of the Pastor’s servant leadership style, I sought to determine 1) what influence those perceptions had on aspects of the congregants’ secular jobs as it related to job burnout, purposefulness and meaning in work, and employee engagement, 2) what influence those perceptions had on aspects of their ministry work as it related to ministry burnout, purposefulness and meaning in ministry, and ministry work engagement and 3) in what ways the congregants could model the Pastor’s servant leadership style in their respective secular or ministry work to build upon their organizational commitment.

The study was conducted using an online survey, and in-person and phone interviews, and involved a participant group of 10 active, long-term members of the Church who were also in ministry. While a culmination of factors can slowly erode one’s ability or desire to function in a given role, the congregant leaders’ perceptions of the Pastor’s servant leadership directly influenced them in that by modeling that leadership, they had been building upon their organizational commitment within their respective secular and ministry roles.

My thesis and the research that went into it was and is near to my heart, and because IWU is a Christian university, I was able to fully involve my Christian values in my studies. As a result, the passion that I have for my church, ministry, and studies converged to produce a thesis that I was and am thankful to share! My next goal is to have my work considered for publication in a peer-reviewed journal so that other academics can use my research to further build upon the topic of leadership within the context of ministry and organizational commitment. I’m excited about where the Lord is leading me, and know that He will continually be glorified!