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Pastors and Public Life$
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Corwin E. Smidt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190455491

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190455491.001.0001

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The Social Characteristics of Clergy and the Churches They Serve

The Social Characteristics of Clergy and the Churches They Serve

(p.36) 2 The Social Characteristics of Clergy and the Churches They Serve
Pastors and Public Life

Corwin E. Smidt

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the changing social composition of American Protestant clergy as well as the changing social context of ministry. The social composition of clergy is changing through the feminization of the clergy, the “graying” of the clergy, and the delaying of entry into ministry (through, in part, the growth of “second career” clergy). The social context is changing in terms of declining membership and attendance, in part because of population shifts within American society from rural communities and small towns to more urban locations. The second portion of the chapter then examines differences between male and female clergy, between newly ordained and more “veteran” clergy, as well as differences between evangelical and mainline Protestant clergy.

Keywords:   social composition, American Protestant clergy, social context of ministry, feminization of clergy, graying of clergy, second career clergy, evangelical, mainline

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