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For the Sake of His House: The Role of Leadership Development of Lay Leaders of an African American Protestant Church in Enhancing Organizational Identification Open Access

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This research study examined the organizational identification process of lay church leaders. The organizational identification process is important to all organizations, as it increases an individual’s connection to the organization and thus has the potential to increase attendance, commitment, group behaviors, and the enactment of organizational policies. Lay leaders are key to the success of churches, as the weight of leadership lies within these structured leadership positions of small, established ministries.One research question guided this study: What is the role of leadership development of lay leaders in enhancing their organizational identification? The research site for this single descriptive case study was First Baptist Church of Highland Park, a large, African American Protestant church located near Washington, DC. Data were collected through interviews with lay leaders of three ministries of this church—deacons, ministers, and trustees—as well as observation and document analysis. Lay leaders were selected as the participants for this study since most roles and positions of leadership within the church involve this volunteer, lay leader base, and these individuals are trained for the ministry through an extensive leadership development process developed and provided by the church. This study found that (1) the early life of lay leaders made a difference in how the leadership development program affected their organizational identification; (2) the associated ministry roles and responsibilities, as refined in the leadership development process, enhanced their process of organizational identification; (3) the self-esteem of the lay leaders developed through their leader training process and was an important factor in further enhancing their process of organizational identification; and (4) the church’s identity and specific aspects of its mission and values were central in the organizational identification process.

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