The purpose of this phenomenological multi-case study was to understand the psychological well-being experience of Southern Baptist pastors during transition and adjustment to retirement. Questions centered around their upbringing, their calling experience, their education, career progression in churches, reasons for retiring, preparation for retirement, experience after retiring, and how identity and purpose may or may not have been related to their role as pastor. The goal of the study was to investigate these experiences to provide rich data and analysis that is missing in current literature.

The research was based on two theories: continuity theory and role theory. The study design included a purposeful sampling of 10 retired Southern Baptist pastors and qualitative interviews with each participant. The interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed to reveal themes in the data. Findings were discussed including a conceptual model and implications for research and practice. In the conclusion, limitations of the study were disclosed and future research opportunities were uncovered.

Date of publication

Spring 5-18-2020

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Judy Sun, Ph.D., Paul Roberts, Ed.D., Sara Perry, Ph.D.


Human Resource Development Ph.D.