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Training Survey for Elders and Deacons: Results and Implications

The results of the training survey for elders and deacons are available below. These results are intended to be an indicator of the depth of interest in training among currently-serving elders and deacons as well as a wake-up call to the denomination (if one is needed) on how far we still have to go to fully prepare our church leaders for their roles. Approximately 35 percent of all elders and deacons actively serving an RCA congregation responded to the survey.

The Fresh Wind Task Force found it most interesting that, despite the ample resources that are theoretically available, only about three of every ten elders and deacons received an orientation to office that fully explained their duties and responsibilities; fewer than two of every ten received any formal training for the office before being ordained; and only about one out of every three felt fully prepared to fulfill all their responsibilities as ordained leaders. Responses to the remaining questions made it clear that this was not the preferred situation--many elders and deacons expressed a desire for more extensive training and preparation for their offices.

A repeated theme in the survey was that even those elders and deacons who received initial training for their positions received no follow-up training. In an additional survey of pastors, many noted that they were too heavily burdened and not fully equipped to add leadership development to their job descriptions. The new Consistory Empowerment Team, created at the 2010 General Synod, will be working diligently to address these issues.

Survey Results by Regional Synod

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