Date of Submission
Nelson, T. A. (2016). Building bridges: Exploring the contributions of principals and pastors to the mission of Lutheran primary schools (Doctoral thesis, Australian Catholic University). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5a9cc901b0bd2
In this research the mission of the Lutheran primary school, and the contributions of principals and pastors to that mission, was explored. The concern of the Lutheran Church of Australia about how best to respond to the mission opportunities that are present in schools was addressed. Principal and pastor perceptions of the mission of the Lutheran primary school and their contributions to the mission were investigated. Spiritual leadership of the principal and the pastor was explored. Recommendations are made to assist school leadership and system authorities in advancing professional development programmes and initiatives for school leadership. A social constructionist epistemology was adopted with an interpretivist research paradigm to explore the contributions of principals and pastors to the mission of the Lutheran school. A constructivist grounded theory methodology was used to generate themes and develop a theoretical framework. Exploration of the contributions of principals and pastors to the mission of the Lutheran primary school was limited to six school sites across Australia. Unstructured interviews were conducted with purposely sampled leaders who were located across the three Lutheran Education regions. The emerging themes were presented to all Lutheran primary principals and their local congregational pastor for further clarification and validation through an electronic survey. The research revealed that the principals and pastors conceptualised the mission of the school in terms of witness and the purpose of the school in terms of vocation, and viewed their role in the mission as a calling. They perceived each other’s contribution as uniting the community. They promoted the mission by valuing relationships, and the caring culture, and they contributed to the mission by leading with an attitude of service and prioritising the spiritual dimension. The principals and pastors shared their missional leadership and strived to build bridges between the school and the local faith community. The investigation of contributions to mission provided insights into positive and exemplary school and church partnerships and suggested a framework for missional leadership highlighting the importance of the spiritual leadership of the principal and the pastor for the benefit of the school and church community.
School of Educational Leadership
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Faculty of Education and Arts