A churchwide effort (MC and GC in the United States and Canada) to understand the dynamics shaping personal decisions to accept or not to accept the calling to prepare for the vocation of congregational minister was initiated and given the name of the “Samuel Project.” The first phase of research explored the issue from the perspective of high school students, young adults, persons who participated in the Ministry Inquiry program, and ministerial students. The findings of this exploration led to questions that required examination from the perspective of pastors, persons preparing for the ministry as a second career, and parents of high school students. This second phase of the Samuel Project was then initiated.
A random sample of persons in pastoral roles was taken and a questionnaire was designed and distributed to solicit responses. A 67% response rate was achieved. Another instrument (with many common items) was distributed to a census of persons in Mennonite educational institutions identified as “second career” ministry students. A 52% response rate was achieved within this population. A primary reason for nonresponse was that the person in the Mennonite institution was from an other-than-Mennonite background. The third questionnaire was designed for parents of high school students. A random sample of parents was taken and 47% of the possible respondents returned usable questionnaires. Non-response is likely to be random, with the exception of those persons who chose not to respond due to a lack of interest in the topic. Appropriate statistical analysis was conducted, complemented by analysis of open-end responses. Statistical findings with these sample sizes are 95% certain to be reliable, with a confidence range of ±4%. To more fully understand the data, approximately 15 email interviews with persons involved in ministry development roles in the church were conducted.
The reports generated by the Samuel Research project are available below, either by clicking on the project title to open the document or by clicking 'download' to place a copy on your computer.
These copies are available for reading purposes only. For permission to copy or distribute, contact:
Mennonite Education Agency
3145 Benham Avenue, Suite 2
Elkhart, IN 46517