Charles Sutton writes: Back in 2011 an important item of research was carried out by the The Revd Teresa Morgan. It explored the life, work, calling and utilization of Self-Supporting Ministers in the church.
Since that time two things have happened: we have moved on in our thinking and a new research instrument is available.
Be assured, we have moved on. But not by that much! Nine years on and we still have issues of being 'undervalued', yet also ministry as 'privilege and joy'; of being underutilised, yet contributing very significant amounts of time and effort; and with many diocesan processes being shaped and defined by stipendiary ministry.
This instrument is available to any diocese that may choose to use it. The first was Gloucester and the most recent Exeter. Thus far, nearly a quarter of dioceses have made use of the process or are intending to do so. It is open-access, and each can be adapted to use specific diocesan logos, names and terminology. Additional items (questions) can also be inserted if they are of particular interest.
More than this! Each participating diocese can agree to share data with other participating dioceses. This is data share only. The data is anonymised and cannot be attributed to any individual. This means the building of a significant data set that can be shared across dioceses to inform thinking and aid planning. The tool -
• Enables you to better understand the attitudes of your SSMs
• Gives you a glimpse into the activities of your SSMs
• Provides you with 'voice' when it comes to shaping diocesan strategy
• Supports the identification of development needs and area of process and policy needing attention
See flyer here