Dallas Campus (Online)
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Committee Chair or Primary Advisor
B. J. McMichael
Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
Scientific literature in the social sciences is rife with studies on burnout and how this phenomenon affects those in various occupations, especially the helping professions. Clergy members are not immune to the influence and effects of burnout. The rate at which clergy members are affected by burnout is evidenced in the documented shortage of clergy currently serving churches and the paucity of ministers going into ministry. The purpose of this study was not to reiterate the effects of burnout on clergy members, but to discover and to explore those factors which promote longevity in ministry. This study used an interpretivist paradigm that lends itself to dealing with the subjectivity of studies in the social sciences. The researcher chose an inductive qualitative interview approach and used Bronfenbrenner’s theory of the ecology of human development as a theoretical framework. The participants in the study were recruited and contacted via phone and email messages. Online interviews via the Zoom platform were conducted, each lasting between 1 and 1.5 hours. These interviews were transcribed using the digital program Otter.ai and were then manually analyzed using coding and theming methods. The study sample (N = 12) comprised clergy members currently serving various churches in the American Southwest. They were men who had served a minimum of 10 years as pulpit ministers in churches of Christ, preferably with a single congregation. The results were found to be largely consistent with the extant literature on the subject. Four key areas of orientation were readily demarcated. These included the minister’s sense of divine calling, his self-care practices, his social supportive networks, and several environmental factors that powerfully influence the minister’s health, well-being, and his determination or propensity to stay in ministry.
Keywords: burnout, attrition, Bronfenbrenner, divine calling, self-care, social supportive networks
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Simpson, Gary William, "Burn On, Don't Burn Out: Factors That Promote Longevity in Ministry" (2022). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 516.