Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Dr. Joshua Henson

Second Advisor

Dr. Bethany Peters

Third Advisor

Dr. Carlo Serrano

Abstract

Most pastors and clergy minister from a place of a perceived divine calling and persist through the myriad of challenges of ministry, regardless of the personal toll that it takes on them. This tireless working can drive them to a place of poor emotional and mental health, which can ultimately affect themselves and their families in a negative way. The need for an effective peer support structure is imperative, and understanding the needs of local pastors can help build that support. Many ministers feel isolated in their efforts and could benefit greatly from a peer group where they could safely be themselves. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine and explore the experiences of ministers involved in a covenant accountability group and how they benefit mentally, socially, and spiritually. Interviewing pastors who had shared experiences in dealing with the various challenges of ministry while being consistently involved in covenant accountability relationships offered valuable information in overcoming the complex challenges of pastoral ministry. Ten interviews were conducted with pastors involved in a covenant accountability group, and the collected data were analyzed using qualitative methods. Three distinct categories arose from themes that came from the collected data regarding the experience of pastors involved in a covenant accountability group: atmosphere, relationships, and personal growth. Additional research is suggested in three different areas in assisting to build a viable pastors network: spousal input, geographical research, and long-term research.


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