Mums in Ministry

Date added: 09/08/18

Snapshots of information from our survey into the benefits and problems of being a 'Mum in Ministry'

Between Thursday 5th and Monday 9th March 2015, Christian Research conducted an in-depth online survey, completed by 176 mothers across Great Britain employed in full-time Christian ministry.

Only around 1 in 10 (13%) of respondents had children of primary school age; the vast majority now had children aged over 16.

16% went from being a full time mum/carer into Christian ministry; a quarter had a background in education. Only 1 in 20 (5%) had a background in church work.

The vast majority of mums in ministry feel satisfied in their role as a minister or leader within the Christian community (82% ‘really’ or ‘pretty’ satisfied). There was a slight inclination to feel more satisfied in their role as a mother to their children.

Nearly a quarter of these mums in ministry (22%) say they have had cause to fundamentally question their calling as a minister. Some of the responses include:

  • '[I felt] I could only take 3 months maternity leave as was during my Curacy, working with a single incumbent who had no idea of reality of ministry while being married, let alone with a baby! I stuck with it and am now a vicar, but I do regret that I wasn’t able to have the maternity leave and time with my baby without a huge amount of uncertainty, stress and pressure.’
  • 'Expectations of others (sometimes these are outside my calling as a minister of Word and sacrament) and balancing family life.’
  • 'When life is so busy there is no space to breathe.'
  • ’Finding life overwhelming at times and juggling full time ministry, motherhood and being a wife is difficult particularly when it seems that the congregation are very demanding and selfish in their requirements.’

Around 1 in 10 say that their own children are the most significant course of ongoing inspiration to them as ministers.

Three quarters (73%) of these mums in ministry say that having children of their own has positively changed the way in which they relate to those in their care.

  • 72% would cite major or significant impact in their pastoral work, with 51% recognising the same in their local community outreach, 43% in their preaching and 39% in team leadership.
  • The areas in which least impact was suggested were Administration (42% stated ‘negligible’ or ‘no’ impact) and mission strategy (26%).

Around half of these mums in ministry say finding sufficient time to spend with their children is a major or significant challenge for them (48%). Additional challenges include:

  • Finding time to pursue a passion / practice a hobby (60%)
  • Finding enough time to relax / wind down (58%)
  • Finding time to spend with closest friends (57%)

These mums in ministry want to relax by:

  • Spending time with their husband / partner (34%)
  • Reading a book or magazine (28%)
  • Spending time in the company of their closest friends (25%)

6% enjoy playing computer games, 8% enjoy cooking, and 13% just want to have a soak in the bath.

Around a quarter of these mums in ministry relax by spending time by themselves (23%), watching tv (23%) or spending time with their children (24%).