#PandemicPastoring ushers in a new era of church leadership

#PandemicPastoring ushers in a new era of church leadership

Categories: In the News, Press Releases

Image credit: Eileen Campbell-Reed


NASHVILLE, TN – Researcher and author, Eileen Campbell-Reed conducted a 22-month qualitative study of over 100 Christian pastors and lay leaders (2020-22). She found church leaders experienced profound grief, loss, and conflict, as well as resilience, grace, and lasting change. She will present key findings of the #PandemicPastoring Report in a Webinar on September 1.

Campbell-Reed, visiting associate professor of pastoral theology and care at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, says, “Leading U.S. churches through multiple pandemics has been both challenging and bewildering, demoralizing and encouraging, marked by grace and grief. Pastors and lay leaders alike are experiencing suffering as well as resilience as they navigate changes to church life that are here to stay.”

On Thursday, September 1, (1pm ET // 12pm CT), Campbell-Reed will join with Good Faith Media in a webinar to release the #PandemicPastoring Report. The webinar will be hosted by Mitch Randall, CEO of Good Faith Media, and Campbell-Reed will share data and insights from surveys and interviews that comprised the research. Ministers who affiliate with Baptist, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), African Methodist Episcopal, and Presbyterian churches will share brief and unique stories of pastoring in context of the report findings. The webinar will conclude with a time of Q&A.

To register for the #PandemicPastoring webinar, visit here: https://3mmm.us/PandemicPastoringWebinar
To receive notification of the report’s release, sign up here: https://3mmm.us/PandemicPastoringSignUp

Campbell-Reed surveyed and interviewed 108 ministers and congregational leaders from more than twenty denominations. The study includes perspectives from pastors, military and healthcare chaplains, and campus ministers. Additionally, one third of the study participants are lay leaders in congregations. Nearly equal numbers of men and women participated, ranging in age from age twenty to eighty. Participants in the study live in twenty states, and all regions of the U.S.

Findings include an assessment of levels of concern about various aspects of Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the report gives attention to the ways ministers and congregations faced the “multiple pandemics” of racialized violence, gender inequity, healthcare disparities, and other urgent social issues. Other key findings include changes to worship and pastoral care that will remain going forward, as well as particular conflicts faced by congregations.

Campbell-Reed says, “There were no mentors, no playbooks, and no one further along the path. Every decision was new and complicated. I believe it’s crucial for people who care about the church to understand these complex challenges, personal and communal grief, as well as resilience and grace that went into leading churches through multiple pandemics.”

Eileen Campbell-Reed is visiting associate professor of pastoral theology and care at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and author of Pastoral Imagination: Bringing the Practice of Ministry to Life (2021) and Anatomy of a Schism (2019). She is founder and host of Three Minute Ministry Mentor (3MMM), and co-director of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project, a national, ecumenical, and longitudinal study of 50 ministers begun in 2009.