Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Parolini, Jeanine


This project was designed to discover factors associated with the leadership development of effective United Methodist clergywomen. The researcher chose a collective case study approach incorporating principles from grounded theory in the data analysis. After framing the research problem, the researcher conducted a biblical review highlighting female prophets from the Bible. In particular, the women from the Old Testament provided important insight. The researcher conducted a literature review confirming the lack of scholarly work in the area of leadership development and clergywomen. The researcher identified four areas to frame the research, each representing an area of identity work. The four areas were not named as areas to focus on in developing one’s leadership. Rather, the four areas framed the inquiry itself. Grounded in the work of positive psychology, the researcher examined how the women came to be the outstanding leaders they are today. Two research instruments were designed based upon the framing of the research problem, the biblical review and the literature review. One instrument was a thirty-eight item close-ended survey. The survey gave the participant an opportunity to provide important personal background information and measured the degree to which each item in the four areas was critical for her development as a leader. The researcher also designed a twenty-eight item open-ended interview protocol which the researcher conducted in person with each participant in Washington D.C., Silver Spring, Maryland and San Antonio, Texas. Five major themes emerged from this study as factors that were significant in the leadership development process of these clergywomen: (1) vision – cultivating the capacity to see what is possible; (2) prayer practice – making time with God a priority; (3) strengths – knowing yourself and expecting the best; (4) mentors and coaches – building in sources of wisdom and encouragement and (5) intentional Christian community – investing in on-going covenant relationships.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis