Church Size, Pastoral Humility, and Member Characteristics as Predictors of Church Commitment

Main Article Content

David R Dunaetz http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0991-897X Melody Cullum Edgar D. Barron

Abstract

Although wavering personal commitment to a local body of believers has been a concern of Christian leaders since New Testament times, increasing individualism and other cultural changes are affecting individual Christians’ commitment to their churches in new ways. This study examines church commitment using the multidimensional construct of organizational commitment to examine characteristics of churches, church leaders, and church members that may influence such commitment. Specifically, church size, perceptions of pastoral humility, church tenure (the time one has attended a church), age, and gender are considered as possible predictors of church commitment. Church commitment is measured as affective commitment (one’s emotional attachment to the church), continuation commitment (the felt-need to stay at the church), and normative commitment (one’s belief that staying at the church is the right thing to do). In a study of evangelical Christians in the U.S. (N = 244), a regression analysis indicates that higher affective commitment is associated with perceptions of greater pastoral humility and member tenure. Continuation commitment decreases as church size goes up. Higher normative commitment is associated with perceptions of greater pastoral humility, smaller churches, and longer member tenure. Overall, higher church commitment is best predicted by perceptions of pastoral humility, then by tenure and church size, with larger churches having less committed attenders. No significant differences in church commitment were associated with age or gender.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Dunaetz, D., Cullum, M., & Barron, E. (2018). Church Size, Pastoral Humility, and Member Characteristics as Predictors of Church Commitment. Theology of Leadership Journal, 1(2), 125-138. Retrieved from http://theologyofleadership.com/index.php/tlj/article/view/25
Section
Articles
Author Biographies

David R Dunaetz, Azusa Pacific University

David R. Dunaetz (Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University) is an Associate Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Azusa Pacific University. His research program focuses on interpersonal processes in Christian organizations, especially churches and mission agencies. He was a church planter in the eastern suburbs of Paris, France, for 17 years with WorldVenture where he and his wife started two churches and helped a third move beyond missionary dependence. Email: ddunaetz@apu.edu

Melody Cullum, TurningWest, Inc.

Melody Cullum (M.S., Azusa Pacific University, CLI-CA) is an Organizational Development Specialist at TurningWest, Inc. She has spent nearly 15 years researching curriculum and developing educational plans. She is passionate about helping organizations become healthier with practical tools and assessments to facilitate change and growth. Email: mcullum@turningwest.com

Edgar D. Barron, Azusa Pacific University

Edgar D. Barron (Ed.D., University of Southern California) is an Assistant Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Azusa Pacific University. His research interests focus on the academic outcomes and social experiences of underrepresented students at historically White institutions. He spent 16 years in the Aerospace industry as an industrial engineer and he was the vice president of Communications and U.S. Ministries for Promise Keepers for 6 years. Email: ebarron@apu.edu