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Best Resources

Best Resources for Leadership Research

This article identifies resources that explore the preparation, attributes and characteristics, compensation, satisfaction and productivity of leaders; that report on the state of leadership in religious bodies and institutions; and that distill best practices for effective leadership of religious institutions.

If you are primarily interested in research that is helpful to leaders, rather than research on leaders, see the Best Resources articles related to Leadership, including Best Resources for: Congregational Administration, Clergy, Continuing Education, Governance, Sabbaticals, Sermons and Using Technology.


Here are some of the best resources among our affiliate sites for leadership research:

The Center for the Study of Theological Education at Auburn provides reliable information about the structure and culture of institutions that provide theological education. By cycling through a series of surveys, the center has developed a longitudinal understanding of the ebb and flow of institutional life and vibrancy. Systematic inquiries into selected special topics add additional insight on key aspects of institutional vitality, including

• administrative and institutional governance 

• faculty preparation, background, goals, pay scales

institutional financial resources

• student financial aid and educational funding

The Association of Theological Schools is a member organization of more than 250 Christian and Jewish schools of religion in North America. Its journal, Colloquy, tracks new developments, trends and best practices in theological education. ATS also conducts an extensive program of leadership education for administrators and faculty.

In Trust is a nonprofit organization devoted to strengthening leaders of North American Christian schools of religion through vocation-oriented education. The site’s Online Resources page provides timely information on hot-button topics in governance and institutional life. The organization’s journal, In Trust, provides perspective on issues related to the governance of schools of religion, and the cyclical behavior of boards. It also provides a helpful series of checklists and self-administered evaluations for school leaders.

Faith & Leadership is a project of Duke Divinity School to help improve the imagination and practice of congregational leaders. Its Leadership Education program, conducted in cooperation with Duke University, offers leadership training programs for Christian leaders at the local church, regional judicatory and national denominational levels, and explores the philosophy of Christian leadership and offers insight, advice and examples of successful pastors who have created vibrant institutions.

Resources for American Christianity offers a range of articles, interviews and publications designed to help leaders of local churches reshape their ministry and create a vibrant community.

Hartford Institute for Religion Research conducts policy-related research into current topics and emerging issues in American religious practice. Included in its array of offerings is a page devoted to Clergy Leadership Resources with links to a range of articles, posts and reports that are either about clergy leadership or are intended to enhance the leadership practices of clergy.

Faith Communities Today, the product of a consortium of more than 25 faith traditions, Christian denominations, academic scholars and research centers, gathers information over time to help congregational leaders improve their ministry. Biannual surveys provide continuously updated information relevant to life and ministry at the level of the local congregation. The topic of leadership as an element in congregational vitality emerged as an important finding from the 2008 study.

The Alban Institute is a consortium of consultants with a range of expertise, including leadership at the congregational, regional and denominational levels, and institutional board and administrative-level leadership. It offers a number of resources throughout the year including educational events, webinars, retreats and seminars



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