Vocation doesn't end when we get the job. It is ongoing and lifelong.
Research and Resources
Living Ministry is a longitudinal, mixed-methods programme of research conducted by the National Ministry Team. As well as spotlighting specific issues through stand-alone studies, it follows four cohorts of clergy through their ministry, returning to them every two years to explore how they flourish in ministry and the things that help or hinder them. Nearly 1000 ordinands and clergy have so far taken part in the study through surveys, interviews and focus groups.
Some valuable resources have come out of the research including How Clergy Thrive: Insights from Living Ministry. Written by Dr. Liz Graveling has written this booklet as a tool for both clergy reflecting on their own wellbeing and for those with responsibility for supporting the wellbeing of others.
To ensure that all gifts and ministries can flourish, we have worked alongside Transformations, a group of women working since 2011 on the flourishing of women’s ministry, to better understand how women and men experience ministry differently in a range of contexts.
You can find a brief introduction to Transformations here.
The number of women entering training for ordained ministry has grown rapidly in recent years. However, there have been big differences in the age profile of men and women training for ministry. Women have tended to be older, whilst the younger candidates have been predominantly men.
Research partly funded by Transformations in response to a request from the College of Bishops, which identified barriers faced by younger women, has led to a number of vocations events for younger women and boosted the numbers exploring ordination:
Women now account for almost a third of all clergy and made up the majority of those entering training in 2018 and in 2017.
The number of women in senior leadership positions within the Church in 2017 was double what it was five years previously, yet there are still very few women leading larger churches. Several pieces of Ministry Division and Transformations research have looked at why this should be:
- Women and Leadership in the Church: Insights from Gender & Management Literature – gender imbalances in senior management beyond the church – and what the church can learn from this
- Vocational Pathways: Clergy Leading Large Churches – how male and female leaders move through ministry, with a particular focus on incumbents of large churches
- Women Leading Larger Churches – large and very large churches, the barriers to women leading them and what might be done to enable more women to be appointed
Among the good practice findings from these are:
- Creating ways to develop women’s ordained ministries
- Challenging stereotypes
- Ensuring that women are given placements, curacies and developmental opportunities in larger churches
- Sharing good practice around maternity and childcare policies, part-time and job-share posts in large churches
- Watching the wording of job advertisements and how qualities required for a role are described, so as to avoid gender bias
- Training for those making appointments, particularly to be aware of unconscious bias
- Recruiting more women to plant and lead resource churches
All this research has also informed our young vocations work, maternity policies, and our Living Ministry research project.
Other aspects of the Transformations agenda include maternity provision, family-friendly working policies and clergy couples.
How do we best support and sustain ministry? The recently concluded Clergy Experiences of Ministry project looks at the work of over 5,000 clergy to understand how we can best shape continuing ministerial education and development.
How is ministerial education understood from different perspectives? How is it experienced by ordinands, educators, placement supervisors and diocesan directors of ordinands in Phase One, and curates, training incumbents, diocesan officers and churchwardens in Phase Two?
We are blessed to have a wealth of highly qualified people within the Church conducting their own research into ministry-related issues. Below are some of the reports we know of in the area of Initial Ministerial Education Phase 2, and we will add more as they emerge.
None of these studies was conducted by or on behalf of Ministry Division, so we can take no credit and bear no responsibility for their content.
- Edwards, Wendy Jane: Exploring Curate Supervision
- Gerhard, Trevor: The Training of Curates and their Future Ministry
- Knight, Rhona: DDOs and Flourishing Curacy
- Latham, Rosamond Mary: The Making of Priests
- Longden, Lee Paul: Mission Shaped Curacy
- Marlow, Jon: Divine Appointments
- Smith, Gregg: Relationships between Training Incumbents and Curates
We seek to foster a culture of lifelong learning within each diocese, which takes seriously the flourishing of the whole person.
Guidance on continuing ministerial development, including regular review, is available to download below.