Church Leadership and Wellbeing – Summary

Purpose: To evaluate church members’ ratings of their church and its leadership associated with their personal ratings of wellbeing.  Method: The survey was conducted in 6 evangelical churches in the United States by announcement during Sunday services and advertisement in church bulletin/website/email over 4 weeks. Subjects were asked about their background, personal wellbeing, and perceptions of the church and its leadership.  Results: There were 115 participants. Participants mostly were evangelical (97%) and agreed, or strongly agreed, they had good wellbeing (88%). Similar findings were shown in surrogate markers of wellbeing including: contentment, peace, joy and purpose. Ratings for church leaders were generally positive with the best ratings for the pastoral staff and then progressively lower for elders and then small group leaders. Associations of wellbeing to church and leadership ratings with significance levels were found in approximately half of responses. Of these, about 1/3 were still significant following a modified Bonferroni correction. In each question with a significant difference, respondents with the best wellbeing gave higher ratings to the leadership and the church than those with lesser wellbeing. The greatest differences between those with the best and with less wellbeing were most evident among the small group ratings with effective communication (10% vs. 34%, P=0.0001) and support the member’s needs (20% vs. 42%, P=0.019) demonstrating the greatest distinctions. Conclusion: This study suggests that congregants in evangelical churches generally have high self-perceived wellbeing. Those with the highest wellbeing are more likely to rate their church and leadership more positively than those of lesser wellbeing.