Access limited to current ORU students, faculty, and staff only. Due to contractual liabilities we cannot offer access to other constituencies. Please contact the administrator at for further information or questions about access.

Off-campus ORU users: Please use the following link to log into our proxy server and download this thesis or dissertation.

Date of Award


Document Type

Applied Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)




To help Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) churches in San Diego Presbytery (SDP) to discern and be prepared to address problems within their leadership, which the leaders are not addressing, this paper will present a presbytery-based strategy that provides resources and training and a means for presbytery-church-member interaction and feedback. Since 2000, at least one-third of SDP has experienced public church conflict. Consequences include church splits, membership loss, and pastors removed or resigning. The strategy proposed here prepares members and churches to discover and begin to face challenges before they become public conflicts. This discussion will be presented in three sections.

Part One describes general, harmful, and self-preserving leadership problems and the consequences of these issues for the members who face them. A recent history of church conflict in the last ten years in San Diego Presbytery provides specific context for examples of the three leadership problems in three SDP churches. This includes my own Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church (RBCPC) and two others referred to as “Church Y” and “Church Z.”

Part Two will introduce three biblical concepts central to preparing members and church for discovery: the concept of “environment” from Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, the concept of “community” from the encounter between Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10, and the concept of true versus symptomatic problems from 1 Corinthians. Additionally, four theological principles based in the Presbyterian heritage will be set forth in order to guide the process of confronting leadership problems.

Part Three will provide a ministry strategy for preparing members to discover and address leadership problems, before they become public conflict in churches in San Diego Presbytery. Implementation and evaluation of the strategy will be accomplished in RBCPC and will be introduced to the other two congregations as well. The results will be presented and analyzed.