Issues framing the politics of pastoral ministry practice

Robert W. Burns, Ronald M. Cervero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Politics are inherent in church life. Politics involves negotiating with others, choosing among conflicting wants and interests, developing trust, locating support and opposition, being sensitive to timing, and knowing the informal and formal organizational ropes. In order to identify political issues negotiated in pastoral practice, eleven pastors were interviewed using a qualitative form of the critical incidents technique. Findings are grouped around the organizing themes of substantive and metaissues. Substantive issues are the visible and tangible day-to-day concerns of running a ministry. Meta-issues are more foundational and focus on attempts to sustain or change power relations or vision and resources that restrict or permit action in the ministry. Categories are identified and discussed, and observations about the relationship between substantive and meta-issues are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-253
Number of pages19
JournalReview of Religious Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Issues framing the politics of pastoral ministry practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this