Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Berndt, Julie


This study employed an interview process with pastors and leaders in a small Lutheran denomination to investigate the relationship between social competence and pastoral development. The study data was then evaluated alongside other research regarding what should be taught and how it should be taught to pastoral students. Results indicated that spiritual, intrapersonal, and interpersonal dimensions were related to pastoral competence. Spiritual competence was related to a pastor who lives in the Word of God and is a servant of the Word of God. Intrapersonal competence was associated with pastors who reflect on themselves and develop themselves. Interpersonal competence was correlated with a pastor who attends to relationships and manages relationships. It was also found across participant groups that competent pastors personal qualities include them being empathetic listeners, effective communicators, humble, and models of integrity. Participant groups also largely agreed pastors are responsible to be competent as a caregiver, developer, home manager, administrator, missionary, preacher, teacher, and theologian. Participant groups concurred that competent pastors value and engage feedback in various ways to develop themselves. God and His Word, a pastor’s congregation, continuing education, denomination, practical experience, spouse and family, other mentors outside the pastor’s congregational and denominational context, and the person’s self-reflection were noted as important contributors to the development of a competent pastor. This study also identified various possible avenues regarding the development of a socially competent pastoral minister of the Gospel. One option is to provide further modeling, instruction, and practical ministry experiences to foster the development of a pastoral student’s character, social skill, and ability to formulate and evaluate a personal development plan. Developing mentoring environments was also suggested as possible means by which a student might engage in feedback regarding personal and professional development.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis