Factors Shaping Clergy Careers: A Wakeup Call for Protestant Denominations and Pastors | Pulpit and Pew
Pulpit and Pew Equipping Churches with Resources and Research
Home Overview Publications

Factors Shaping Clergy Careers: A Wakeup Call for Protestant Denominations and Pastors

Factors Shaping Clergy Careers: A Wakeup Call for Protestant Denominations and Pastors

By Patricia M. Y. Chang

In Factors Shaping Clergy Careers, sociologist Patricia M. Y. Chang examines the careers of Protestant clergy in the United States, taking a look at the typical clergy career path, prospects for advancement and related issues. A companion piece to her earlier Pulpit & Pew report on clergy supply, Clergy Careers addresses the organizational constraints that shape clergy careers, pointing out how opportunities for clergy employment and promotion are influenced by such factors as supply and demand and organizational boundaries. While many clergy may think of ministry in terms of a career ladder that leads to ever larger congregations, most actually spend their working lives in mid-career positions with few opportunities to advance to senior pastor positions. The way clergy are educated, deployed, supported and rewarded limits their autonomy and control over their work life, Chang finds, making comparisons with other professions such as medicine or law very problematic. The report also includes commentaries from three observers of clergy careers.



Executive summary (html)

Download the full report in Adobe Acrobat PDF format (1.15 MB).

Pastor Speaking to Ladies
Pastor Speaking to Ladies