Date of Award

5-1-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Corporate adn Organizational Management

Department

College of Business and Management

First Advisor

Jeanette Francis

Second Advisor

Alison Rampersad

Third Advisor

Edwina Mooney

Abstract

Approximately 33 percent of the world's population has membership with the Christian religion. This membership percentage is projected to decline to about 15.4 percent by 2020. Since the mid 1960s, membership in the Mainline tradition of the Protestant denomination has continued to decline steadily, particularly in the United States of America. Studies show that churches have not kept pace with the population growth. About 3 percent of the market share of the population is lost to competition, annually. In addition, the globalization of religious pluralism has had a strong negative impact on church membership rate. The decline in membership has brought attention to the need for membership retention strategies in churches.

This study examines if there is a relationship between satisfaction with attributes of worship, church characteristics, and church member characteristics and the intention to leave a church. A convenience sampling of 171 members of Baptist, Pentecostal, and Non-denominational churches completed surveys in this correlational (explanatory) study. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to test the hypotheses of the relationships between four dimensions of the attributes of worship, church characteristics, and church member characteristics and the intention to leave a church of a church member.

Results of psychometric analyses of the Worshippers Satisfaction Survey indicated a good internal consistency for the four dimensions of attributes of worship. The results related to the Self-continuity Drive Index indicated higher internal consistency among this sample than stated in other studies. The results related to the Intention to Leave Index indicated minimum acceptable required estimates reliability among this sample. Respondents' satisfaction with the pulpit ministry and church environment dimensions of the attributes of worship, and the church member characteristics of age and self-continuity drive were found to be explanatory variables of the intention to leave a church. No church characteristics were found to be explanatory variables.

This study aimed to address the deficiency in the theoretical and empirical literature about membership retention and the intention to leave a religious organization, such as a church. With the declining membership in the Christian religion, church administrators could find the results of this study useful in understanding the factors that affect a member's intention to leave a church.

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