Thank you for considering participating in our research study. On this page, you will find some helpful information about the project. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. Our researchers are available at your convenience to answer questions or explain our work further. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the project

The research team is interested in learning more about how these congregations staff the mission of their churches, and how their pastor/ministry staff (paid and unpaid) understand the nature of ministry today.

What will we be asked to do?

If you choose to participate, participants will be asked to complete:


  • Congregational Questionnaire – completed by anyone who has thorough knowledge of the church, it’s ministries, and its operations.


  • Interview with Researcher – ideally the interview would be with the head of staff or another pastoral leader.


Additionally, we hope you will let us:


  • Observe Congregational Ministries – a member of the research team will come and observe a worship service and an organizational meeting.


Note to Study Participants: Your participation in this study is voluntary and you may withdraw at any time. You may also choose not to participate in certain ways or choose not to allow use of certain research procedures. If you choose to withdraw from the study, all information you provide will be destroyed and no identifiable materials will be included in study findings.

How much time will this take?

The following are estimates based on research participation thus far:


  • Interview with pastors. We schedule these interviews for 1 hour and 30 minutes. At the end of the interview, a researcher may ask you if it is okay to follow with any additional questions they may have.


  • Questionnaire. On average, this brief survey takes 7 minutes to complete.


The research observations take place at regularly scheduled dates and times and require no additional time commitment. Some correspondence with the research team may also be needed.

What will you do with the data you collect from us?

Every effort will be made to keep any identifiable information obtained through this research study confidential. All research data will be handled with care. Research notes will remain under lock and key at the private office of the principal investigator and electronic files will be stored on a password-protected computer and encrypted cloud storage. The identities of all participants will be protected by pseudonyms and will never be intentionally disclosed without the written permission of the participant or as required by law.

Members of the research team will have access to all data for this project. No other individuals will have access to this data, including those affiliated with the Lilly Endowment, Inc. which has provided the funding for this research.

Resources for Research Participants

Informed Consent Form
During the interview, a researcher will review this form with you to ensure you are fully informed about the project.
Download Now
Meet the Researchers
Our research team includes experienced professional researchers, student assistants, and nationally recognized project advisors.
Meet the Team
Behind the Scenes
Want to learn more? The Fieldnotes Blog documents our unfolding research through early insights and reflections on what we are learning.
Learn More