Lay leadership in Korean -American Presbyterian churches: Deacon's leadership, roles, relationships, ministries, and spiritual programs

Hun Tae Kim, Fordham University

Abstract

This study was centered on the beliefs and perceptions of pastors and deacons about lay leadership. Most of church leadership theories have focused on pastoral leadership, but this study has largely emphasized the role of lay leadership as part of the church leadership. This study investigated leadership in the Korean American Presbyterian churches in the United States and analyzed data from six Korean American churches in the northeastern United States. This study explored how pastors and deacons share leadership through six case studies of individual local churches. This study examined the deacons' leadership, roles, relationships, ministries, and spiritual programs. The six churches revealed individual differences. The six cases were examined for similarities of leadership styles and attitudes, as well as common obstacles to a more democratic collaboration in leadership.^ This study involved in-depth interviews. The interview questions and research questions were created by the researcher specifically for Korean American Presbyterian churches, and were designed to explore the lay leadership perspectives and conceptions of the pastors and deacons. In the six cases, there were 36 participants: 6 pastors and 30 deacons. The six participants in each case were a pastor and five deacons. All the participants were selected from first-generation Korean Americans who have lived in Korea in their youth and had therefore been exposed to an autocratic leadership.^ This researcher assumed that older Korean Americans or those who had migrated to the United States at an older age might be more traditional and authoritarian than the Korean Americans who were younger or had been exposed to the more democratic culture of the United States at a younger age. The response to the interviews revealed that the Korean American people's leadership style was at the crossroads between the traditional Korean leadership style, which tended toward autocratic and hierarchical leadership, and the American leadership style, which tended toward democratic leadership even within a bureaucratic organization.^ In conclusion, the deacons who were older or had emigrated to the United States at an older age were more traditional-authoritative or traditional-submissive than the deacons who were younger and had emigrated to the United States at a younger age. This researcher concluded that a participative-democratic style was more effective between the pastors and the deacons than an autocratic-authoritative style. The participative-democratic behavior reduced conflicts and built more cooperation between the pastors and the deacons than the traditional-authoritative behavior in the more democratic postmodern culture. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Religious

Recommended Citation

Hun Tae Kim, "Lay leadership in Korean -American Presbyterian churches: Deacon's leadership, roles, relationships, ministries, and spiritual programs" (January 1, 1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9839510.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9839510

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