Presbyterian Panel Survey, May 2009 - The Environment, Clergy

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The Presbyterian Panel began in 1973 and is an ongoing panel study in which mailed and web-based questionnaires are used to survey representative samples of constituency groups of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). These constituency groups include members, elders, pastors serving in a congregation and specialized clergy serving elsewhere. New samples are drawn every three years. The main goal of this study is to gather broad information about Presbyterians in terms of their faith (belief, church background and levels of church involvement) and their social, economic and demographic characteristics (age, sex, marital status, living arrangements, etc.). The May 2009 survey focuses on the environment. This dataset contains data from sampled clergy (pastors serving in a congregation and specialized clergy serving elsewhere.)

Data File
Cases: 824
Variables: 209
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: May-July 2009
Original Survey (Instrument)
The Environment: The May 2009 Survey
Funded By
Congregational Ministries Division, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Collection Procedures
"Questionnaires were distributed on late May 2009. Most panelists received their copy by U.S. mail, but a subset (n = 506, or 15%) who had signed up for the service was notified via email. Non-respondents were sent a postcard reminder in June, and non-respondents who were notified by email were sent three email reminders in May and June. Returns were accepted through July 2009. Response rates for this survey are: members, 49 percent; elders, 55 percent; ministers, 56 percent. All panelists had the option of completing the survey on the Web, and 20 percent of responding members, 29 percent of responding elders, 38 percent of responding pastors and 32 percent of responding specialized clergy did so." (The Environment: The Report of the May 2009 Presbyterian Panel Survey)

Populations: "The Panel consists of three samples, each drawn from a separate constituency group, or population, of persons affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The PC(USA) consists of congregations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico." (Technical Appendix; see link below)

Members
"The member sample was drawn from the population of all active members of congregations affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (i.e., persons listed on the active membership rolls of these congregations; see PC(USA) Book of Order, G-5.0202), with the following exclusions: elders currently serving on session and persons unable to complete a mailed survey. At the end of 2007, the total active membership of the PC(USA) was 2,209,546. Subtracting the 106,817 active elders, the approximate population was 2,102,729 members." (Technical Appendix)

Elders
"The population of elders is defined as the subset of active members of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations: (1) who have been ordained to the office of elder by a PC(USA) church (or a church affiliated with one of its predecessor denominations) and (2) who are currently serving on the session of a PC(USA) congregation. (See 'Book of Order,' G-6.0101 through G-6.0108, and G-6.0300 through G-6.0304.) At the end of 2007, the population of elders serving on session was 106,817." (Technical Appendix)

Ministers of the Word and Sacrament
"The population of ministers of the Word and Sacrament is defined as those persons who have been ordained to this office and continue to hold it as members of a presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). (See 'Book of Order,' G-6.0200 through G-6.0204.) Retired or emeritus ministers are excluded. At the end of 2007, the population of active ministers totaled 13,615." (Technical Appendix)
Sampling Procedures
Note: The description of sampling procedures below is quoted from the Technical Appendix of Religious Demographic Profile of Presbyterians, 2008: Findings from the Initial Survey of the 2009-2011 Presbyterian Panel.

"Three representative samples were drawn, one from each of the three populations, using probability techniques."

Members and Elders
"Lacking exhaustive, national lists of all members in PC(USA) congregations, we implemented a two-stage sampling process for members and elders. For members, we used proportional stratified sampling to draw a sample of 507 congregations from the national total of 10,792. Congregational strata were based on region, race/ethnicity and membership size. Each sampled congregation was then asked to draw eight member names, using a random process….

"A similar procedure was followed to sample elders. First, the number of elders was imputed for each congregations that had not reported a number for 2007, based on the mean number of elders for congregations of similar membership size. Then, using proportional stratified sampling, we drew a sample of 403 congregations from the national total of 10,792, based on region, race/ethnicity and session size (i.e., number of elders currently serving on session). Each sampled congregations was then asked to draw eight elder names, using a random process….

"…A total of 228 congregations returned member forms, and 189 congregations, elder forms. A total of two member forms were unusable. The member forms contained 1,821 eligible and usable names, and the elder forms, 1,425."

[Note: See Page B-6 in Religious Demographic Profile of Presbyterians, 2008: Findings from the Initial Survey of the 2009-2011 Presbyterian Panel for more details on the random process used to generate these names.]

Pastors and Specialized Clergy
"A list of all ordained ministers of the Word and Sacrament is maintained by the Office of the General Assembly based on reports from stated clerks of presbyteries. A probability sample of 2,200 ministers was drawn using proportional stratified sampling. All active ministers (i.e., not retired or emeritus) resident in the United States or Puerto Rico were located in one of 56 unique strata based on their region of residence (Northeast, Midwest, South, West), their race/ethnicity (African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Native American, white, other, not known), and their occupational category (pastors, specialized clergy; see definitions below). Random sampling was used within strata.

"For most analyses, the ordained minister sample is split into the sub-samples of pastors and specialized clergy. To ensure the greatest accuracy and most up-to-date classification, responses to Q7 through Q12 on the minister questionnaire rather than occupational codes in the denominational database were used to determine which ministers are pastors and which are specialized clergy in this report.

"Pastors include ministers who serve full-time in a congregation in an installed position, such as head of staff, solo pastor, senior pastor, associate pastor or interim pastor, or who serve at least half-time in one of these positions if not otherwise employed. This category does not include supply pastors. Specialized clergy include ministers serving full-time in a school or seminary, as a hospital or military chaplain, as staff of a governing body of the PC(USA), in an ecumenical agency, or in any other (church-related or not church-related) job or position. This category also includes persons who work part-time in a non-parish job if they have no parish employment, or if their parish work is part-time (e.g., tentmaker) or is of a limited, temporary capacity (e.g., stated supply)." (Technical Appendix)
Principal Investigators
Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and John Marcum, Coordinator
Related Publications
Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Environment: The Report of the May 2009 Presbyterian Panel Survey. Louisville, 2011. (See Original Survey Instrument link.)

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