Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 537–550 | Cite as

The Convergence of Ministry, Tenure, and Efficacy: Beyond Speculation Toward a New Theory of Pastoral Efficacy

  • Joshua Strunk
  • Frederick Milacci
  • James Zabloski


In recent years there has been increased interest in understanding the cultivation of effective pastoral ministry. Many theories have been postulated based on individual experiences, but what has been lacking is a robust body of comprehensive and rigorous research regarding the issue. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience of long-tenured senior pastors of Christian churches with an eye toward the insights participants’ experiences could offer to pastoral education. Final analysis of the data affirmed current research on resiliency in pastoral ministry and extended previous research through the discovery that participants understood the convergence of ministry, tenure, and efficacy as a cyclical process sustained by the interconnected experiences of fidelity to the pastoral call and the cultivation of authenticity in community. This understanding forms the basis of a new theory of pastoral efficacy.


Pastoral education Pastoral efficacy Pastoral leadership Pastoral ministry Pastoral tenure Resilience in ministry 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liberty University School of EducationLynchburgUSA

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