Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Joshua D. Henson

Second Advisor

Bethany D. Peters

Third Advisor

Carlo A. Serrano


Pastors and church leaders have been trusted with the New Testament responsibility of building biblical community characterized by koinonia. For contemporary pastors, this means developing this community while addressing internal conflicts and an increasing level of opposition from a post-Christian societal culture. The leadership approach of the Apostle John and the biblical principles in the epistles of 1–3 John serve as a model for building and maintaining biblical community while addressing internal and external challenges. Spiritual leadership theory (Fry, 2003) and organizational culture (Cameron & Quinn, 2011; Schein, 1986, 1990) provide valid theoretical constructs that are compatible with the Scriptural approach as taught and modeled by the Apostle John. This study included an exegetical analysis of the New Testament epistles of 1–3 John, as well as a phenomenological study of contemporary church leaders as a model for developing biblical community through spiritual leadership practices in a post- Christian culture. The exegetical analysis produced seven broad leadership themes. The biblical themes formed the basis for in-depth qualitative interview questions that 11 Assemblies of God presbyters responded to. The results integrated Scripture, leadership theory, and phenomenological findings to serve as a guide for contemporary church leaders who are endeavoring to build and maintain biblical community in a post-Christian society.