WASHINGTON, DC — The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has appointed Tim Snyder as senior researcher to lead its Religious Workforce Project study.
Trained as a theologian and scholar of American religion, Snyder’s research and teaching has focused on contemporary religious practice. A graduate of Texas Lutheran University and Luther Seminary, Snyder has previously taught at Wartburg Seminary and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Boston University where his dissertation research explores a “lived theology” of work among everyday people of faith. Having written regularly for academic and popular audiences, his essays and articles have appeared in CrossCurrents, Religion Dispatches, The Other Journal, and The Washington Post. Snyder will also join Wesley Theological Seminary as a visiting faculty member.
Funded with generous support from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Religious Workforce Project will study congregations to provide the most in-depth understanding of how congregations carry out their missions. The project will also compile the most comprehensive database on congregational economics and staffing.
This national study comes during unprecedented changes to the American religious landscape. The Washington Post recently reported that because many churches are experiencing record-breaking decline, some are returning to older models of clergy sharing. When participation in religion declines, the economics of local churches get complicated, according to a recent report by the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving. Earlier, The Christian Century reported that many of these changes are impacting the financial well-being of pastors themselves. The Religious Workforce Project will build on recent research and provide the most detailed picture of how congregations are adapting to these trends.