Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Matteson, Jeff


The North American culture is experiencing seismic shifts in its leadership structures. One of these shifts is the growing momentum from traditional, hierarchical leadership models to flatter, team-driven, shared leadership structures. The first section of this project aims to understand the biblical and theological reasons for shared leadership. The relationship within the Triune God and other examples of shared leadership from Scripture are used to build the foundation and rationale for this type of structure in the local church. This section also identifies factors that caused the drift from shared leadership through a plurality of elders in the New Testament to a hierarchical structure of bishop, elder, and deacon in the early church. The second section reviews the current literature on shared leadership and how postmodernism is bringing the church back to its biblical roots of leadership. Examples from the corporate, sports, and natural worlds are woven in to provide practical illustrations of this model. This section also describes the strengths and weaknesses of shared leadership and presents strategies in resolving some of its challenges. The third section draws on research from a select group of evangelical churches in North America that use shared leadership. From these case studies, a grounded theory is developed to understand the antecedents of shared leadership, steps of transition, and factors that sustain and make this leadership model a success. The final section presents a step-by-step process in transitioning to a shared leadership model that is biblical, relevant, and practical for the local church to adopt.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis