Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Christopher Kowalski


Prairie Lakes Church (PLC) is a religious institution with a rich history within the Cedar Valley. The church’s origins date back to 1854, only one year after Cedar Falls was incorporated. Throughout the years there have been many changes to the organization, including their name, location, and the population served. Many of the more radical changes have occurred during the last decade. In 2006, Prairie Lakes Church had a single location with roughly twenty staff and a congregation of around 1,000 individuals. Since then, the church’s presence has expanded to five other communities across Iowa. Over sixty people are now employed, and the total number of attendees on any given Sunday is 2,500 to 3,000 people (C. Uhrmacher, personal communication, October 13, 2016). What has made PLC succeed where so many other nonprofit organizations have not? The answer may lie with the leadership styles of the upper management.

Leadership is a hotly debated topic in the field of Leisure, Youth, and Human Services. It can also be an encompassing term, covering everything from conflict management to communicating vision and mission. Everyone has their own opinion on the matter, and there are as many theories on the subject as there are leaders. However, the 200% increase in employment and congregation size indicates that PLC’s form of leadership is worth evaluating. The church leaders also balance a fine line between maintaining the same values and beliefs at all six locations while incorporating unique characteristics to suit completely different populations.

Date of Award



School of Kinesiology, Allied Health, and Human Services

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ii, 24 pages)



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