Anglican clergy among the most introverted
MOST ANGLICAN clergy are sensitive introverts, according to research that will be published next month.
The survey of Protestant clergy by the retired bishop of Southwell, Michael Whinney, found that while in the general population 47 per cent of people are introverts, among Anglican clergy the number rises to 62 per cent.
Of those surveyed 58 per cent of Baptists were introverts. Among Methodists it was 49 per cent.
Personality type, the report claims, may also play a part in the reluctance of many clergy to go out knocking on doors and actively winning converts.
The report indicated that introverted clergy were more at home in traditional worship styles, while extroverted ministers were happier in the freer participative style of the fast growing younger churches.
Bishop Whinney said: “Anglicans and Methodists score high on feeling. This means that they are people who put their heart right into their ministry. They may however struggle with matters of organisation and management. Baptists score much higher on thinking. This means that they are people who put their heart right into their ministry.”
He observed that ministers’ sense of vocation may take some blows but despite low morale “they soldier on despite low pay and dropping attendances.”
Leslie Francis, professor of practical theology at Bangor University, said: “The research helps to explain some of the differences in church style, growth and decline. It also helps to explain some of the difficulties in collaboration between denominations.”
Nearly half of the ministers surveyed responded, giving a pool of 359 Anglican, 108 Methodist and 80 Baptist clergy. All were from the Midlands. Bishop Whinney presented his findings at the fourth annual conference of the network for psychological type and Christian faith in Swanwick, Derbyshire.
–Church of England Newspaper