Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

Rosemary J. Link, PhD, LISW

Second Advisor

Garry Hesser, PhD

Third Advisor

John Ward, D. Min.


Congregational care and support of pastors in parish ministry is rarely considered. While there is literature regarding clergy stress, burnout, and satisfaction; studies were not located regarding the active role of congregations in the care and support of the parish pastor.

The church is a social system and can be studied as such. Information was obtained from church communities that are members of the Presbyterian Church USA, in Minnesota. The study will explore pastoral perceptions as well as congregational perceptions to determine understanding and involvement of the congregation in the provision of pastoral care and support. The results of the Pastoral Surveys and the Focus Group Interviews indicate that pastors believe parishioners do not understand how to provide adequate care and support and this is validated by responses of congregational participants. Group participants acknowledge that it is a topic that they think little about but, are interested in changing this and exploring the way care and support is provided.


SC 11.MAL.2007.Nelson.DM