Schroeder, Bryan. THE AUTOETHNOGRAPHIC REFLECTION OF A CHRISTIAN PRINCIPAL AND HIS GREAT DESIRE TO KNOW AND LOVE JESUS CHRIST WHOLEHEARTEDLY: A STORY OF BEING CALLED, ENCOUNTERED, AND CHANGED BY GOD WHILE GROWING AS A SERVANT LEADER. (2017)
This study presents a qualitative data driven account of highly personalized and transformative experiences that I reflect on, draw meaning from, and summarize the professional value of how I was called, encountered, and changed by God, as I pursued to know and love Jesus Christ wholeheartedly while growing in servant leadership as a (vice) principal at a Christian school. In 2014, I stumbled upon and pursued the notion of using my journal entries from May 2010 to December 2013 (271 pages), as qualitative data to write an autoethnography. The guiding research questions for this autoethnographic study were as follows: What prominent themes did I, a young (vice) principal at a Christian school, naturally write most about in my journal? What meaning did I derive from the personal encounters recorded within the prominent themes of my journal? How did the transforming experiences in my personal life influence me as a growing servant leader, in the principal role, at a Christian school? What kind of encounters did biblical characters, who were seeking God wholeheartedly, have with God that were similar to mine? How are my experiences of being called, encountered, and changed by God supported and paralleled by Christian literature? What implications do my findings have for (future) principals practicing servant leadership? My responses to the research questions offer valuable perspectives and unique insight from my view of the world, as transformation in my personal life led to transformation in my professional life.
Autoethnography was the chosen methodology to vividly express the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual details from my life, and analyze and interpret the meaningful encounters that I had journaled about. Themes were established through the inductive process of coding data, and findings were framed by the servant leader theory, which led to the writing of Chapters IV through VII. Chapter I is an introduction, Chapter II reveals the theoretical framework and worldview of the study in order to give the reader a grid with which to connect my thematic chapters, Chapter III presents my methodological framework, and Chapter VIII is the conclusion that discloses the inward and outward implications of my findings. It has a summary of how my personal encounters influenced my thoughts, feelings, and actions as a principal of a Christian school, and it also displays implications for principals practicing servant leadership and for teachers at public schools and Christian schools. The sources that contributed significantly to the credibility of this autoethnography were extensive Christian literature references, Bible verses, supportive research of the servant leader theory, and my authentic journal entries. Although my experiences were unique to me, many authors shared similar experiences in the context of their Christian communities. The life changing journey that I experienced, while growing as a servant leader, must be known among principals who also have a similar desire to hear from and know God, and be called, encountered, and changed by Him