Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Phil Newell, DMin

Second Advisor

Jim Sabella, DMin

Third Advisor

MaryKate Morse, PhD.


Second Chair Leaders (SCLs) face unique challenges in leading ministry organizations from the second chair. Research indicates that those who lead from the middle of an organization (i.e. from the second chair) are at greater risk of experiencing depression and burn-out than those who lead from the top of an organization, yet most leadership resources are written by and for those in first chair, or top-tier roles . While there may be helpful information from these leadership sources, they do not often adequately address the specific leadership concerns facing SCLs.

This study addresses the unique needs of Second Chair Leaders by exploring discernment practices that can help them thrive in ministry for the long haul. These practices will be woven throughout the three major areas of concern for an SCL, which include Personal Realities, Relational Realities, and Missional Realities. As a practical application of the research from this project, a one-year curriculum artifact is included which provides a process for SCLs to join in community with peers to personally apply the learning. Through this process, SCLs will apply discernment practices that can help them gain clarity in their personal calling and core values; build better working relationships with their first chair leader, peers, and those they lead; and make wise and courageous decisions in their personal and professional life as they lead from the second chair.

Included in

Christianity Commons