Abstract

The Church of Norway was until 2012 a state church, and is now more clearly based in the third sector and strengthened as a voluntary organization. Several reforms in the church have only indirectly ad-dressed the place of volunteers and voluntary work. This article presents a theoretical model for lead-ership of volunteers in congregations. The model integrates two distinct traditions within management theory, namely managerial work studies exemplified by Mintzberg’s (2009) empirically based and practice oriented research, and institutional leadership (Selznick 1957) emphasizing the key role of values and identity. This combination gives room both to general management and a more specific type of leadership in church, according to the distinguishing features of a religious organization. The author discusses how leaders in their practice should combine four dimensions, i.e. values and identity, administration, leading and doing. He then points at three challenges in leading volunteers in a church context: Mapping motivation and the differing needs for flexibility among the volunteers, balancing organizing and structures with motivational leadership, and lastly developing a strategy for systematic voluntary work in the congregation. In the context of the Church of Norway, this calls for an emphasis on the role of the employees as leaders of volunteers.