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To Ordain or not to Ordain? A Self-Determination Theory Perspective on How Ministerial Candidates and Dioceses Use Psychological Assessment in Ordination Process

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Psychological assessments are nowadays often used when recruiting new pastors in churches. However, no studies have yet examined how the results from these assessments are used when deciding on ordination. It is not known how the candidates evaluate their result and how it impacts their career process, or how bishops use the assessment results in their evaluation of a candidate. The present study inspected these aspects in the context of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. A quantitative survey was sent to those who had participated in the psychological assessment during 2006-2010, and bishops and diocesan chapter members received an electronic survey containing open-ended questions. Both parties considered the assessments important, although they did not use the results themselves. According to Self-Determination Theory, this reluctance to use standardised selection practices can be explained as lack of perceived autonomy.

Affiliations: 1: Helsingin Yliopisto, Department of Practical Theology Postal Box 4, University of Helsinki Helsinki, fi-00014 Finland


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