Join Our Study on the Influence of Parishioner Friendship on Clergy Loneliness, Depression, and Social Support

Participation Request

My name is Josh Olds and I am a doctoral student at Columbia International University’s Ministerial Leadership Program. I would like to invite you to participate in a doctoral research study I am conducting entitled: “Servants and Friends: The Effects of Friendship with Parishioners on Clergy Loneliness and Mental Health.” The purpose of this study is to examine the clergy-parishioner relationship to consider that relationship’s effect on clergy’s levels of loneliness, depression, and perceived levels of social support.

Because of the nature of the study, there are a few qualifications: You must be 1) ordained/licensed/etc, 2) compensated (not volunteer), 3) currently pastoring, 4) in a Protestant church, 5) in the United States.

This survey will take only 10-15 minutes of your time. If you have any questions, you can message me here on Facebook or email me at

This study involves three stages of data collection. First, research participants will complete an online questionnaire to gather baseline demographic information and establish a foundation for their levels of loneliness, depressive symptoms, and social support. Second, a selection of research participants will be asked to complete an interview with the researcher to further discuss their experiences. Third, that same selection of research participants will be asked to complete a weekly diary to assess their experiences over the course of a four-week period.

Participation is completely voluntary and you may withdraw from the study at any time. Additionally, you may choose to complete the online questionnaire and opt out of consideration for the researcher interview. The study is completely anonymous. Pseudonyms for all participants will be provided; therefore, it does not require your name or any identifying information.

Voluntary Nature of the Study

Your participation in this study is voluntary. This means that everyone will respect your decision of whether or not you want to be in the study. I will be the only person who will know if you decide to participate in this study or not. If you decide to not participate in the study, I will respect your decision and will not change in my professional relationship with you. If you decide to join the study now, you can still change your mind during the study. If you feel stressed during the study you may stop at any time. You may skip any questions that you feel are too personal.


There is no payment or compensation for participating in this study.

Risks and Benefits of Being in the Study

There is no risk associated with this study. All information will be held in confidence. Composite results will be shared with the administration of the participating institution(s). The benefits to you will be to have participated in a study that will further the literature on clergy well-being. Upon completion of this study, research participants will be sent a written summary of the research with the full dissertation available upon request.


Any information you provide will be kept confidential. I will not use your information for any purposes outside of this research project. Also, I will not include your name or anything else that could identify you in any reports of the study.

Statement of Consent

I have read the above information and I feel I understand the study well enough to make a decision about my involvement. By completing this questionnaire, I am agreeing to the terms described above.

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