Date of Award
The modern-day church is currently facing a multitude of problems, one being the clergy-laity gap. The clergy is comprised of any individual who is placed in an official ministerial position within the church. On the other hand, the laity represents anyone who is directly receiving ministry from the clergy. With these distinctions, differing perspectives have driven a divide between these two populations. This divide has been coined the clergy-laity gap. This research examines this gap through the examination of a church health assessment developed by Dr. Suzie Macaluso and Dr. Carley Dodd, alongside the Siburt Institute of Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University. This data set consists of ten congregations in Texas, Oklahoma, and Canada who are from the Church of Christ background. One component of this survey examines the church’s discipleship, spiritual formation, and outreach. Utilizing this data, the means of both the clergy, or elders, and the laity, or members, of the church were compared to examine if there were observed differences in their perceptions. Results showed that the means of the eldership were higher across the board when compared to the members. Moreover, the independent samples t-test resulted in five significant (p<0.05 or P<0.01) outcomes. Through these results, there is an observed difference in perceptions between the elders of the church and the church’s members in the context of their discipleship, spiritual formation, and outreach.
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Stonehouse, Bryn, "Church Health: A Comparison of the Clergy and Laity Perspectives on the Church's Discipleship, Spiritual Formation, and Outreach" (2018). Honors College. 37.