Research FAQs

Q: What does 'ministry responsibilities' mean?
A: Based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, definition of 'ministers of religion: responsibilities' (read more), this includes any commitment, activity, or task required to conduct ministry. Clergy spouses and children involved in this research also specifically included the commitment of work hours, the need for relocation for ministry purposes, activities within the home, church and wider community, and emergency situations requiring attendance. 

Q: Which denominations were represented in the study?
A: Twenty one Christian denominations were self selected by those in the research cohort. The majority were from Anglican, Baptist, Christian Reformed Church, Church of Christ, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and Uniting churches. 

The remainder, making up less than one percent of the population each, were from  Acts 29 Church Plant, Antiochian Orthodox, Apostolic, Assembly of God, Associated Christian Ministries, Congregational, Evangelical, FIEC, Independant Pentecostal, Independant Reformed, Independant, Methodist, Pentecostal, 
Seventh Day Adventist and Westminster Presbyterian Churches.

Q: It'd be great if churches could read this research, are you contacting them?
A: Absolutely! We're working with a few groups to distribute this research and personally contacting interested parties to share a copy of the results. We're also in the process of developing a Quick Fact Sheet for churches that we hope will be available early 2018. If you're interested in receiving a copy, or know of a church who might be interested in learning more, we'd love to speak to you!

Q: How is ACF using this research to help clergy families?
A: This research has helped us form the basis of what we do at ACF and we're looking forward to finding new ways to work with clergy families in the future. At the moment, we have two main strategies:
1) What Would Best Support You?
We want our resources and supports to best fit what Australian clergy families need so we'll be exploring in depth the participant's support recommendations and opening a private poll to ask clergy families how we can best support them.
2) Breaking The Silence To Build Support: We know the ministry lifestyle is not easy to talk about with many obstacles, and sometimes fears, that prevent difficult subjects from being openly discussed in ministry communities. But we also know that the clergy families' immediate community often provides the best, and most loving, support possible. We want to help these communities however we can, so we will continue discussing challenging subjects publicly through Facebook, our blog, and our website to encourage support and understanding of clergy families and their ministry communities.

Q: What's your next project?
A: We have an upcoming series based on this research starting this year (read more) but we're also very keen to learn more about the clergy family population in Australia. General data available is very limited, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics now including school chaplains as part of the employment statistics for clergy. We're keen to work with church denominations to understand more about the number of clergy families in Australia to develop future research and initiatives.