Leadership in Mission: A Protestant Pastor’s Implementation of an Afterschool Program

Earl Y. Thorpe, Fordham University


Protestant Pastors and small churches face a threefold problem embedded in the context of the local church mission: a lack of resources to provide mission-based educational programming, a decline in people not joining or affiliating with local church congregations, religiously unaffiliated persons in communities that pastors and churches need to address according to their church mission. This qualitative research case study examined the leadership skillsets pastoral leaders possessed to help engage the church’s mission and implement an afterschool program according to that mission. It explored whether an afterschool program offered an alternative programmatic proposition that embodies the Great Commission and the local church’s mission and if implementing a mission-derived afterschool program helped affiliate community members with the local church congregation. The data originated from semi-structured interviews conducted with the Senior Pastor who implemented the afterschool program; the current church Senior Pastor and lay leaders; afterschool program stakeholders, directors, and leaders; multiple site visits and field observations, and document collection of organizational materials. The study utilized Transformational Leadership and Appreciative Inquiry theoretical frameworks to analyze the Pastors’ leadership skillsets and the church’s organizational change practices. The researcher presented three findings: Mission played a role in decision-making; Each Pastor displayed indicators of Transformational Leadership; Leaders and stakeholders reported no influence on church affiliation. Also examined were additional sub-findings, implications, and recommendations for future study.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Religious education|Continuing education

Recommended Citation

Thorpe, Earl Y., "Leadership in Mission: A Protestant Pastor’s Implementation of an Afterschool Program" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30316772.