Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Anyone seen the stats on this?

There has been quite a bit of discussion sparked by Besomami's musings about the progress--or lack thereof--in clergywomen becoming Senior Pastors of bigger churches.

Here's a statistic I'd like to see researched: Regardless of gender, is there a correlation between age at ordination and likelihood of becoming a Head of Staff type pastor. My completely unscientific mental review of pastors I know or know of supports the theory that most Heads of Staff were ordained in their twenties or early thirties.

Anyone seen any research on this?

8 comments:

jledmiston said...

Don't have research but I think you are on to something. It's possible that pastors ordained in their 30s also are called to be Heads of Staff. But those ordained after a long term second career? Probably not.

Someone told me last week that Princeton Seminary advises women especially to seek solo pastorates out of seminary-- not associate positions. I'm also wondering if people (women especially) are more likely to be called to serve as Heads of Staff after being associate pastors or being solo pastors of smaller churches.

jledmiston said...

page 3 of some GA statistics cover some of these issues:
http://www.pcusa.org/womensadvocacy/clergywomen/clergywomen-report03.pdf

cheesehead said...

So...ordained two days after my 41st birthday?

Am I mommy-tracked forever???

:(

Purechristianithink said...

Cheesehead--I sure there are exceptions, and the real data may not even back me up on this theory.

My guess would be that if I'm right, there are two reasons for this. 1) It takes time to build up the reservoir of experience and connections that help in getting that type of call. 2) Folks who are ordained early in life tend to see ministry as their career and have a particular sense of what trajectory that career will take. Mid-life ordinands are more likely to have been surprised by their call to ministry, have re-thought their whole sense of career and so have a more open idea of what "success" looks like.

Just me thinking out loud.

PPB said...

What you suspect makes sense, and actually is right on track with research I'm doing. Relatively equal numbers of young (under 35) men and women are ordained each year (in most denominations) of the last 10 or so.It's like 40% women. The problem is that young women are 4 times more likely than men to drop out or stop out of parish ministry (and the interesting thing is that this is true whether they have children or not).Therefore, when the jobs come available for clergy with 10-20 years or more of experience, the vast majority of those eligible for the jobs are men. And when you take into account that many of the "stop outs" are doing things like hospital chaplaincy, non-profit work, campus ministry--usually part-time--it is frustrating to note that most churches, in looking for a supervising pastor, discount this work---so someone like me with 13 years of college chaplaincy is seen as the same as a brand new graduate in the eyes of most committees.

I don't know what Princeton is doing, but my research indicates that both paths--associate pastor or solo pastor can lead to the big office. What path doesn't lead there? youth ministry, children's ministry. Because you know, working with the youngest folks doesn't matter (grr.) What associate position do most men get? general associate. What associate do most women get? associate for children and youth. And don't get me started on that one...

PPB said...

Another thing (you're sick of me, aren't you) is that we need to more clearly define what we mean by HOS. Do we mean a solo pastor with a secretary and some musicians, and maybe a part-time youth worker? Or do we mean a pastor that supervises other pastors?

Purechristianithink said...

One EP told me that HoS means someone who works with other full time ministry professionals--whether lay or ordained: so Assoc. Pastor, or DCE or Youth Director, etc. but not sec'y and custodian. Not sure how generally accepted that definition is.

Alex said...

"One EP told me that HoS means someone who works with other full time ministry professionals--whether lay or ordained: so Assoc. Pastor, or DCE or Youth Director, etc. but not sec'y and custodian." This is my understanding of what HoS means... when I compiled my stats, that is the definition I used. Great question and great info from PPB.