Date of Award

Spring 1985

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Management

Committee Director

Kato B. Keeton

Committee Member

Leonard Ruchleman

Committee Member

Maurice R. Berube

Committee Member

L. R. Wilson


The study examined the Black church laity's expectations of the urban minister regarding his involvement in specific social and political issues that confront inhabitants of urban areas. A survey was administered to individuals in Black churches of different protestant denominations in a Southeastern Virginia City in order to determine the degree of the laity's expectations. Specifically, the survey sought answers to the questions: Do Black church laity expect the minister to deal with socio-economic and political problems in urban areas? and, What particular urban problems do the laity expect the minister to offer leadership in facing or solving?

While this study used a portion of a survey used in a national study, it focused exclusively upon the Black laity's expectations of clergy in an urban area. It also dealt only with statements that had previously clustered under three areas--Aggressive Political Leadership, Active Concern for the Oppressed and Precedence of Evangelistic Goals. Statements that constituted "Active Concern for the Oppressed" received the highest percentage of "important" responses from the laity. An impressive 78 percent of the respondents to the statements in this cluster felt that they were important in terms of their expectations of the minister. This cluster was followed by "Aggressive Political Leadership" with a mean level of importance of of 68.5 percent and "Precedence of Evangelistic Goals" with a mean level of importance of 60.25 percent.

The survey responses suggest that the Black urban minister has a constituency that expects his active involvement on behalf of the oppressed as well as his providing aggressive political leadership in the urban milieu. Black laity are quite homogeneous in the expectations of the minister such that denomination and socio-economic status do not significantly affect the overall expectations of those who are constitutive of the Black church.