Coping with ministry: Developmental of a multidimensional measure of internal orientation to the demands of ministry

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Secularization, with its accompanying loss of institutional legitimation and plurality of belief systems, poses difficulties for clergy. Some ministers respond to these difficulties by developing an internal orientation to ministry through reliance on spiritual practice, autonomy and a sense of personal competence. Others rely on external sources of legitimation, such as their congregation or denomination, and exhibit an external orientation to ministry. This paper describes the development and initial validation of a multidimensional measure designed to investigate the structure of an internal orientation to the demands of church ministry in the context of a secularized society. Study 1 details the construction of the Orientation to the Demands of Ministry Survey (ODM-S) and its initial testing with a sample (N=112) of ministry trainees. The factor structure of the measure supports dimensions comprising spiritual practice, autonomy and competence. Study 2 comprises a validation of the refined ODM-S measure with a sample of ministers from four Protestant denominations (N=261). Substantial replication of the factor structure in Study 2 supports the ODM-S's construct validity. Implications for the psychological impact of secularization are discussed, together with recommendations regarding future research using the ODM-S.


NCLS Research

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Journal Article

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ERA Access