Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Barnett College of Ministry & Theology


Department of Christian Ministries and Religion

Primary Advisor

Dr. Alan Ehler

Second Advisor

Dr. Glen Wolf

Third Advisor

Dr. Timothy Swinson


The aim of this thesis is to develop a biblically grounded resource that will prepare incoming pastors who will succeed retiring pastors of local churches. Studies show that most church succession attempts are not deemed successful, which is concerning since, over the next ten to twenty years, the American church will experience the largest wave of retiring pastors it has ever seen. This work addressed two learning gaps, as little exists in the form of resources directed primarily at incoming pastors and research on the clause Pistos ho Logos. Therefore, the primary research questions were “What are the meaning and significance of Pistos ho Logos, and what principles might the clause suggest that could equip incoming pastors to take up their new positions faithfully?” Using a qualitative study of the lived experience of pastors who experienced succession, and a theological analysis of a unique Pauline clause that appears only five times in the Pastoral Epistles, Pistos ho Logos, the findings show applications with spiritual and organizational leadership implications. The significance of this study is that it provides a pastor mentality based on the faithfulness of the Word of God that will enable them to faithfully lead plateauing or declining congregations through the difficulties experienced in pastoral succession.