2018 “Flourishing in Ministry” Clergy Wellbeing Survey

Education and Clergy development is pleased to announce that Wesleyan clergy are invited to participate again in the national study on clergy wellbeing, “Flourishing in Ministry,” conducted by Dr. Matthew Bloom of Notre Dame University with whom we are working directly. The survey will be sent out September 18, 2018. There will be a two-week window to take the survey. This Lilly Endowment study focuses on the factors that best contribute to the ability of clergy to thrive in ministry over a lifetime. For the first time ever, data from the 2014 study provided invaluable information on the wellbeing of Wesleyan pastors.

We need your help.  The study requires a significant level of participation in order to achieve a positive impact on you, your spouse (where applicable) and our denomination as a whole. The more pastors and spouses that participate, the more meaningful and helpful will be the results. We desire maximum participation from our denomination. Please don’t miss this wonderful opportunity for us all to help each other as Wesleyan clergy to know how to best care for our pastors and their spouses. Here is what you need to know in order to participate:


Who should take the survey?

All Wesleyan clergy – regardless of position – and all spouses of clergy. It does not matter whether or not you are ordained. It does not matter if you are part-time, bi-vocational or full-time. You just need to be under appointment as an active member of the clergy in The Wesleyan Church. All pastors will receive a report of their wellbeing upon completion of the survey.

Can Spouses take the survey?

Yes, but we need the email for spouses in order to send them the survey link. The denominational data base currently contains only a small number of email addresses for spouses, so the link will be sent only to those spouses for whom we have addresses. If you are a pastor, ask if your spouse would like to participate and if so, have them send their email address to: education@wesleyan.org

Spouses who complete the survey will receive a report regarding their own wellbeing. However, aggregate data on clergy spouses will not be collected due to limitations at Notre Dame.

When will the Study Begin?

The survey will come to you on September 18, 2018. There will be a two-week window to complete the survey from that date. The survey will come from the office of Education & Clergy Development with a link to the survey. Please know that your completed survey will go directly to Dr. Bloom’s research team at Notre Dame University not ECD! We are simply sending the link—this survey is completely confidential!

What format will the survey take?

The survey is mostly a Likert Scale—you will basically rank each question on a 1-5 scale.

  • The survey will take approximately 35 minutes to complete.
  • You will have 14 days to complete the survey.
  • The survey will be distributed on September 18, 2018.

Who sees my information? How confidential is my information?

The survey is entirely confidential. Dr. Bloom has pledged to share aggregate information only. The study will aggregate results and no personal information will be shared.  The only personal results will be sent solely to you.

How will I and/or my spouse benefit from this study?

You will receive immediate feedback about certain aspects of your survey results.  This information may be used to help you and your spouse consider more deeply the factors that contribute to your overall well-being as a pastor or spouse of a pastor.

Why have I not received my survey?

Be sure to check your junk mail folder since the survey link is being sent via MailChimp. sometimes MailChimp emails go straight to junk folders.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the survey?

Send any questions to education@wesleyan.org

How will The Wesleyan Church benefit from this study?

In at least three ways. First, it will build upon the 2014 study by deepening our knowledge about factors that contribute most to the wellbeing of clergy. Second, the results will help us to refine existing initiatives to help clergy and to discover new ways to come along clergy for their wellbeing. Third, results of this study will help us know how our clergy compare in their overall sense of well-being in ministry as compared to a national sample of clergy in other denominations. This too will help Wesleyan leaders and clergy care-givers know where we need to best respond to our clergy.

Here are a few highlights from the first study and how we are responding:

  • We can now verify that solo pastors experience lower overall wellbeing compared to pastors who have a staff. We have recently received a grant that gives preference to experiences for solo pastors for their wellbeing and a second grant that provides coaching funds with PastorServe.
  • Female pastors experience similar positive scores for wellbeing as male pastors but report less social support from denominational leaders. Encouraging DBMDs, Districts and others to advocate for women in ministry leadership positions.
  • 30% of Wesleyan pastors experience moderate to severe burnout, the same rate as the national average for all pastors. Encouraging all clergy to practice Sabbath living, sabbatical planning and to create healthy personal life style practices.
  • Pastors need to experience support from their congregation in order to flourish. Encouraging lay leaders to demonstrate appreciation for their pastors, Pastor Appreciation Month emphasis, promoting clergy and lay leaders to collaborate on the Lilly funded Thrive Financial Initiative.

As pastors flourish, we believe their congregations will also flourish! We are excited about the potential this second study holds for deepening our knowledge of the state of well-being of our own pastors which will lead to responding even better to meet their needs.

Wesleyan Clergy Wellbeing Data

Reports of the most pertinent findings of the wellbeing of Wesleyan clergy from of the first stage of the Notre Dame University Wellbeing at Work Project: “Flourishing in Ministry.” Click here for resources.

Resources from the Notre Dame University Wellbeing at Work Project: “Flourishing in Ministry.”

Research insights based on firsthand data collected from clergy in North America and analyzed by Dr. Matthew Bloom and his research team at Notre Dame University. These informative and helpful reports target various aspects of clergy wellbeing. Click here for resources.