Black pastor at the pulpit

How are Clergy of Color Faring in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America?

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has had goals and policies in its churchwide office and synods since the late 1980s to increase racial and ethnic diversity. When the American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church of America merged to form the ELCA in 1988, the leaders of the new denomination set a Constitutional goal…

Small church

Pastoral Staffing Arrangements in Small United Methodist Church Congregations

It should come as no surprise that over the past few decades Christian congregations have been shrinking in terms of their average weekly worship attendance. This is certainly true for congregations in the United Methodist Church. The median worship attendance of UMC congregations declined from 53 worshipers in 2000 to just 38 worshipers in 2019.…

Masked pastor conversing with masked church member

Podcast Episode: “The Pandemic’s Real Impact on Clergy and Congregations” featuring Scott Thumma

How has the pandemic shaped the vitality and resiliency of congregations? Did it really prompt large numbers of pastors to leave ministry? In this episode of Leading Ideas Talks from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary, Scott Thumma shares insights from ongoing research on the pandemic’s impact on congregational life and…

Masked pastor speaking with a masked church member

The Pandemic’s Real Impact on Clergy and Congregations

This article shares highlights from an in-depth interview with Scott Thumma, available in Leading Ideas from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary.     How has the pandemic shaped the vitality and resiliency of congregations? Did it really prompt large numbers of pastors to leave ministry? Doug Powe, director of the Lewis…

Pastoral Staffing Arrangements in Small Nazarene Churches

Over the past several decades, the average weekly worship attendance of Christian congregations has been decreasing. In 1998, the median number of regular participants of Christian congregations in the United States was 80 people[1], and by 2018-19 this had dropped to 70 participants for the average congregation[2]. Smaller congregations usually have fewer financial resources and…

Clergy Age Trends Have Paved the Way for the Religious Workforce Project

Several research projects by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership paved the way for the current Religious Workforce Project. The longest continuous effort by the Lewis Center studies clergy age trends. In 2006, the newly-established Lewis Center issued its first report on clergy age trends among United Methodist clergy beginning from 1985. This research emerged…

Previous Research by the Lewis Center Related to Religious Workforce

Several research projects by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership paved the way for the current Religious Workforce Project. Most of these involved the United Methodist Church, the denomination with which Wesley Theological Seminary is affiliated. Transition from Seminary. Building on the initial findings from the Center’s clergy age research, it became clear that the…

A Mobile Religious Workforce?

Early on the Religious Workforce Project (RWP), like other congregational studies, faced a sampling challenge: what list of congregations would we work from for recruiting churches into our study? Some significant studies from the 1990s drew their research sites right from the yellow pages. Since 2000, researchers have been able to use newer strategies such as…