Monday, February 18, 2013

Sam Rockwell's dissertation on, "Denominational Identity and Ministerial Identity Congruence within the Foursquare Church"

Sam Rockwell, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development

American denominational organizations have evolved in purpose, role, and structure since their beginnings in the 17th century. However, the decline of mainstream denominations that started in the 1960s has left these organizations in a crisis of retrenchment as their identities, missions, and very legitimacy all come under question in what has been called a “post-denominational” and even “post-Christian” age. Redefining and revitalizing their organizational identities represent a key opportunity of American denominations in the challenging climate they face today. The purpose of this study was to determine the identity and degree of identity congruence (prototypicality) among licensed ministers of the Foursquare Church. This study utilized a quantitative survey design to examine the identity and degree of identity congruence (prototypicality) among licensed ministers of the Foursquare Church. A total of 468 active, licensed ministers of the Foursquare Church in the United States were randomly selected from the total population of 6,750 ministers. Potential candidates were invited to participate in a mail survey. The survey asked participants to rank 23 salient identity properties organized into five categories as outlined by Roozen (2005): polity, structure, people, practice, purpose, theology. Additionally, the researcher has added program traditions. Participants also were asked to report their own beliefs and practices related to the 23 identity distinctives. Descriptive statistics and analysis of variance were determined for the data. The findings revealed that the participants, in general, both supported the identity distinctives and also identified with them. Based on these findings, three implications are evident. First, it is important to leverage the pastors’ strong identification with polity and structure to create a district nexus strategy that bridges local and national polarities. Second, it is advisable to nurture a compelling and distinctive Pentecostal theological identity by framing a deeper and broader Pentecostal “ethos” and resist a narrowly defined and doctrinaire Pentecostalism. Third, it is recommended to celebrate and promote a prototypical leader who embodies its historic identity and at once anticipates the demography and spiritual dynamism of the future Foursquare Church.

Keywords: Organizational behavior, Identity, Identification, Foursquare Church, Pentecostalism, Organization culture

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