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Presbyterian Panel Survey, February 2014 - 1001 New Worshiping Communities, All




The Presbyterian Panel consists of three nationally representative samples of groups affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): members, ruling elders serving on session, and teaching elders. (The session is the governing board in Presbyterian congregations.) New samples are drawn every three years. Panel surveys are conducted quarterly, primarily by mail, but with an online completion option. The Panel is maintained and directed by the office of Research Services, part of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The first Panel was created in 1973 to provide a means for informing denominational leaders of the opinions and activities of the rank and file across the church. Survey topics and questions are usually developed at the request of, and in consultation with, staff or elected members of national church entities. However, ultimate decisions on content of Panel surveys and the disposition of Panel data are those of Research Services. Standards developed by the American Association of Public Opinion Research guide Panel surveys. The current survey is the ninth survey completed by the 2012-2014 Panel, and was distributed in April of 2014. The survey looks at familiarity with the 1001 New Worshiping Communities Initiative and awareness of new worshiping communities. This dataset contains responses from members, elders, and clergy.

Data File

Cases: 1291
Variables: 231
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection

April 2014

Original Survey (Instrument)

Presbyterian Panel Survey, February 2014 - 1001 New Worshiping Communities

Funded By

Congregational Ministries Division, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Collection Procedures

The survey was initially distributed April 2014 to panelists. Most (480 members, 859 ruling elders, and 1,045 teaching elders) were sent a printed questionnaire via U.S. mail on April 21, 2014 with returns accepted through July 1, 2014

Response rates for this survey are: members, 52 percent; ruling elders, 52 percent; teaching elders, 56 percent.

Sampling Procedures

Note: The description of sampling procedures below is quoted from the Appendix B: Technical Notes Establishment of the 2012-2014 Presbyterian Panel.

Pastors and Specialized Ministers

A list of all teaching elders is maintained by the Office of the General Assembly based on reports from stated clerks of presbyteries. A probability sample of 2,368 teaching elders was drawn using proportional stratified sampling. All active teaching elders (that is, not retired or emeritus) residing 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 ministers; see definitions below). Random sampling was used within strata.

For most analyses, the teaching elder sample is split into the sub-samples of pastors and specialized ministers. To ensure the greatest accuracy and most up-to-date classification in this report, responses to Q7, Q8, Q9, and Q11 on the teaching elder questionnaire rather than occupational codes in the denominational database were used to determine which teaching elders are pastors and which are specialized ministers.

Pastors include teaching elders who serve full-time in a congregation in an installed position, such as pastor or associate pastor, or who serve at least half-time in one of these positions, if not otherwise employed. Interim pastors are also included in this category. Supply pastors are part of this group only if they have no other religious employment, work substantial hours as a supply pastor, or are paid.

Specialized ministers include teaching elders serving full-time in a school or seminary, as a hospital or military chaplain, as staff of a PC(USA) national agency or mid-council, in an ecumenical agency, or in any other (church-related or not church-related) job or position. This category also includes people who work part-time in a non-parish job, if they have no parish employment. People who have both non-parish church-related employment and parish employment are included in this category only if this parish employment does not involve pastoral leadership (for example, director of counseling), is part-time (for example, tentmaker), or is of a limited, temporary nature (for example, stated supply pastor).

Members and Elders

Lacking exhaustive, national lists of all active members of PC(USA) congregations, we implemented a two-stage sampling process for members and ruling elders. For members, we used proportional, stratified sampling to draw a sample of 502 congregations from 10,536 congregations across the country. Congregational strata were based on region, race ethnicity, and membership size. Each sampled congregation was then asked to draw ten member names, using a random process.

A similar procedure was followed to sample ruling elders. First, the number of ruling elders was imputed for each congregation that had not reported a number for 2010, based on the number of ruling elders reported most recently (no earlier than 2005). Then, using proportional, stratified sampling, we drew a sample of 500 congregations from the national total of 10,536, based on region, race ethnicity, and session size (that is, the number of ruling elders currently serving on session). Each sampled congregation was then asked to draw 10 ruling elder names, using a random process.

Principal Investigators

Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Related Publications

1001 New Worshiping Communities website

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