Published on September 30, 2010  

An article featuring Dr. Penny Marler's research on pastor peer groups is published in "Faith and Leadership," an on-line publication of Duke University.

Researchers found that congregations with a pastor who is involved in a peer group are more likely to be active, youthful, and to have increasing attendance -- particularly if the group includes a trained facilitator and/or a curriculum, Marler said.

"There is a strong correlation. It's fascinating. It's surprising," said Penny Long Marler, professor of religion and the grant and research coordinator for the Resource Center for Pastoral Excellence at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., which partnered with Austin Presbyterian Seminary on the study.