Pastoral leadership in sunday services. A qualitative case study of seven pastors in the church of Norway
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This study is situated in practical theology and aims at contributing to the field of pastoral theology focusing on pastoral leadership. The research question with which this study is concerned is: “How do pastors carry out pastoral leadership in Sunday services, and how can this practice be understood?” By conducting a multiple site case study, I explore how seven pastors in the Church of Norway carry out pastoral leadership during Sunday services, and how their practices can be understood. I have conducted participatory observation of the pastors in Sunday services and interviewed them afterwards. Thus, the empirical material consists of fieldnotes, audioand video-recordings from participatory observation, transcribed sermons and other elements from the services, five sermon manuscripts, as well as transcribed qualitative interviews. The empirical material is analysed utilizing Askeland’s integrated model of management and institutional leadership in practice as a theoretical framework. This model stems from the tradition of church and leadership studies in Norway and combines theories from institutional theory and the managerial work behaviour-tradition. I supplement the model with pastoral theological perspectives from the pastoral theologian Carroll, and the liturgical theologian Lathrop. This thesis aims at giving three main contributions to the field. First, it presents an empirical and theoretical contribution to understanding what pastors do to realize their responsibility as leaders of the Sunday service. I have identified two patterns of how the pastors, as institutional leaders, execute this task in diverging ways. Moreover, I suggest that these 4 patterns could be interpreted as institutional logics: one functional and one symbolic logic. These diverging logics demonstrate a relationship between the pastors’ personalities, backgrounds and spirituality, the local context they are situated in, and how they are marked by and/or relate to other contextual elements. Moreover, the logics demonstrate four fundamental dimensions of theologies and values pervading the leadership practice of the pastors. The second main contribution is a theoretical contribution to pastoral leadership studies within pastoral theology suggesting a model of pastoral leadership in Sunday services. Third, the thesis gives a theoretical contribution to the field of church organisation and leadership studies. I expand and nuance Askeland’s theoretical framework. This thesis contributes to developing how the contextual elements, as well as the actors’ personalities, backgrounds and spirituality, and their theology and values, are interwoven in their practice as leaders.
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