Influence of priests' leadership styles on youth participation in church activities in the Catholic Diocese of Meru Eastern Province, Kenya
This research sought to determine the influence of priests' leadership styles on the youth participation in church activities in the Catholic Diocese of Meru (CDM). The study addressed four styles of leadership which include servant leadership, transformational leadership, entertainment leadership and the charismatic leadership styles. The research was guided by four objectives. The first objective was to establish the extent to which servant leadership style influences youth participation in church activities in the CDM. The second objective was to determine how transformational leadership style influences youth participation in church activities in the CDM. Objective three sought to find out how entertainment leadership style influences youth participation in church activities in the CDM. The fourth objective was to determine ways in which charismatic leadership style influences youth participation in church activities in the CDM. Four research questions derived from these objectives provided further guidance to the study. The study was confined to the Catholic Diocese of Meru in Eastern province of Kenya and the target population was made up of 187 priests and 58 youth groups. The researcher used descriptive cross-sectional survey design. The key research instruments included questionnaire for priests and focused group discussion (FGD) for the youth. Stratified sampling and simple random sampling were employed in the selection of respondents. A sample size of fifty six respondents for the questionnaire was used and seven focused group discussions were conducted. Data was analyzed by use of descriptive statistics which was constructed with the aid of Microsoft excel and SPSS software. The key finding of this study is that the most influential leadership style in attracting the youth to participate in church activities is entertainment leadership, followed by transfonnational leadership, with charismatic and servant leadership styles coming third and fourth respectively. However, the actual happening on the ground is almost the exact opposite of what the youth prefer. The youth indicated a high preference for entertainment leadership style as opposed to the priests who prefer and practice servant leadership style which was rated last by the youth. This presents a conflict of interests which is not healthy for a successful youth ministry. There is need therefore for the church authorities in the CDM to seek ways and means of harmonizing the priests' practice and the youth preference so as to enhance the participation of youth in church activities. This study can be replicated to a wider sample to validate the conclusions made in order to inform change of the church youth management policy.