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Dissertation Abstract

Value Congruence and Commitment in Pastoral Ministry

Jerome King
Regent University

The average pastorate in America is only four years, despite the fact that research suggests pastors experience their greater impact in a ministry in their fifth through fourteenth years. Interpersonal disputes with members, poor matches between pastors and congregations, and other challenges associated with leadership in local church ministry, are all contributing factors to leadership conflict resulting in pastoral turnover in the church. Since research literature reveals the relationship between organizational and individual values and organizational commitment is helpful in affecting turnover, this study extends what is currently known about the construct into the area of pastoral ministry. Using Meyer and Allen's (1997) three-component commitment scale and McDonald and Gandz's (1991, 1992) taxonomy of values questionnaire, 143 churches were examined to determine whether pastor-church value congruence is positively associated with the pastor's commitment to the church. The responses for each of the value surveys were totaled separately and the church values subtracted from the pastors' values to net the differences as the degree of distance between the variables. The degree of distance revealed the degree of congruence between the pastor's values and the church's values. To ascertain the correlation between the difference (established between each church's pastor values and church values) and affective, continuance, and normative commitment a linear regression analysis was performed using SPSS. The results of the analysis reveal a moderate correlation (.098) between affective commitment and value congruence, but not at the statistically significant p<. 05 level. Such findings do suggest value congruence has some degree of correlation with affective commitment in pastoral ministry. At the same time, the null hypotheses can not be rejected in light of the marginal degree of significance (.098) between affective commitment and the difference. Hence, pastors might continue their services with churches because they want to do so, as opposed to need (continuance commitment) or obligation (normative commitment). Affective commitment not only correlates positively with performance and even attendance, it also relates negatively with turnover. Therefore, even a moderate correlation between affective commitment and value congruence might suggest shared values is at least helpful in curtailing pastoral turnover.