Overview of the Research and Methodology
The focus of the study was on the universe of senior or solo pastors of congregations from all Christian denominations as well as pastors of independent churches. Non-Christian religious leaders were also sampled. The researchers did not survey associate or assistant pastors, clergy who serve in various non-congregational ministries, and retired clergy who are no longer serving congregations. The survey data were supplemented by focus group interviews in seven sites across the U.S. This research was undertaken in conjunction with the US Congregational Life Survey.
Jackson W. Carroll, Williams Professor Emeritus of Religion and Society and Director (Retired) of Pulpit & Pew: Research on Pastoral Leadership, Duke University Divinity School, Principal Investigator
Becky R. McMillan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, Meinders School of Business, Oklahoma City University, Research Associate
Matthew J. Price, Director of Analytical Research, Episcopal Church Pension Group, New York, Research Associate
John B. James, Pulpit & Pew: The Duke Center for Excellence in Ministry. Duke University Divinity School, Project Coordinator
For information about the project, listen to an interview with project director, Jackson Carroll at the Resourcing Christianity Web Site
Because a substantial percentage of the church-attending population is in large congregations, larger congregations are more likely to be nominated by General Social Survey (GSS) participants. To correct for this, each congregation is weighted inversely proportional to its size. For example, for clergy in a one thousand member congregation, a weight of 1/1000 is applied, and for those in a one hundred member congregation, a weight of 1/100 is applied, and so on. This corrects for the over-representation of pastors of large congregations and makes it possible to treat each pastor, whatever his or her congregationâ€™s size, as one unit in the population.
Date Collected: April 23, 2001 â€“ October 5, 2001 Funded By Lilly Endowment, Inc.
The data can be analyzed or downloaded at www.thearda.com/Archive/Files/Descriptions/CLERGY01.asp.
Participants were surveyed using telephone interviews. These interviews, undertaken for the researchers by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), lasting approximately forty-five minutes each, were completed with 883 senior or sole pastoral leadersâ€”a completion rate of 72 percent. These included 832 Catholic and Protestant clergy and fifty-one clergy from other religions.
NORC interviewers asked participants in the 2000 GSS if they had attended religious services at least once a year and if so, to indicate the name and address of that place of worship. After eliminating duplicate nominations of congregations, congregations for which no address could be located after exhaustive search, others that had closed since the 2000 survey, and those groups that do not hold regular worship services, 1,292 congregations remained in the sample. NORC callers found that sixty-one of the 1,292 congregations did not have a current pastor, including twelve Jehovahâ€™s Witness groups who would not name one person to be interviewed from their leadership council, or the congregations did or would not answer the telephone or return calls during the nineteen week field period. This left 1,231 eligible congregations for the purposes of the pastor survey.
For further details of the sample, see Appendix A in Jackson W. Carroll, God’s Potters: Pastoral Leadership and the Shaping of Congregations. Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans, 2006.