Professional competencies for church ministry as perceived by seminary faculties, church lay leaders, and seminary seniors Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/nk322h898

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  • The conceptual foundations of the study emerged from a review of the literature, suggesting that a serious gap exists between clergy and laity in terms of ministerial expectations. This gap has been attributed in part to a growing estrangement between seminaries and the churches they serve. Thus, the central problem addressed was that of identifying the extent to which seminary faculty and church lay leaders are congruent in their perceptions of those professional competencies which are important to pastoral ministry. Four additional avenues of investigation were pursued. First, evidence was sought to determine what, if any, differences exist among seminary faculty themselves with regard to the kinds of preparation pastors need. Second, a comparison was made of the perceptions of senior seminary students with those of church lay leaders. Third, useful data were sought regarding the impact of seminary training on seniors by comparing faculty and senior perceptions of competencies. Finally, the data were subjected to factor analysis to isolate clusters of common competencies as perceived by the respondents in the three population samples. A 70-item questionnaire, containing statements of pastoral competencies, was constructed through a modified Delphi process and administered to three randomly sampled populations. The three sample groups (of equal size, N = 50) represented faculty members of two Conservative Baptist seminaries, senior pastoral students from the same seminaries, and lay leaders from regionally stratified Conservative Baptist churches nationwide. The 150 respondents indicate on a five-point Likert-type scale the importance they attributed to each of the seventy pastoral competencies. The data were analyzed by means of one-way and two-way analysis of variance and factor analysis techniques. Selected Findings: The one-way analysis of variance revealed a significant difference between faculty and lay leaders on 18 of the 70 competencies and between seminary seniors and lay leaders on 20 of the 70 items. Little difference existed between seminary faculty and seniors. Both faculty and senior perceptions reflected greater openness to pastoral leadership for change and innovation than did those of lay leaders. Seniors also rated more highly competencies related to social, civic and political involvement. While noting these differences, the evidence of this study did not substantiate the serious gap between faculty or students and lay leaders suggested in the literature. The two-way analysis of variance disclosed that seminary faculty members are a highly homogeneous population in terms of their perceptions of pastoral ministry. Concerns expressed in the literature of faculty ranks divided along lines of practical pastoral experience and teaching fields were not supported by the evidence of this study. The 150 respondents attached the greatest importance to the inter-personal dimension of pastoral ministry, as measured by the mean score ranking of the competency items. The R-mode factor analysis generated a five-factor solution. The five factors were: I - Interpersonal Skills. II - Specialized Ministry and Functional Skills. III - Personal Scholarship and Intellectual Capabilities. IV - Management of Personnel and Programs. V - Leadership, Participation, and Awareness at National, Community, and Extra-Church Levels. These clusters were regarded as meaningful categories that can form the bases for developing curricula in pastoral training programs. Selected Recommendations: 1. Similar studies be done, including a population sample of practicing pastors. 2. Additional longitudinal research studies be conducted to measure the impact of seminary faculty on the formation of students' expectations of pastoral ministry. 3. The'findings regarding the importance of interpersonal skills be carefully considered in the evaluation and planning of seminary curricula. 4. Research similar to this study should be carried out with additional populations (other than Baptist) to confirm the finding of this study across a broader representation of the church at large.
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