I am a sociologist who specializes in religion, gender, organizations, and quantitative methodology. My research focuses on the social organization of religion, specifically congregations and their clergy. I am fascinated with the fact that religions are more than ideas and beliefs. They create structures and communities that profoundly affect people’s lives.
My book Stuck: Why Clergy Are Alienated from Their Calling, Congregation, and Career...and What to Do About It (Fortress Press 2022) examines pastors who no longer want to be in the profession but struggle to leave. They are passionate about their calling but no longer feel the congregation is the place where "ministry" happens.
In addition to my research, I am passionate about teaching. I teach many sociology courses at UMHB, and I take so much pleasure helping students understand their social world. It's a joy to see them learn about the social forces shaping their lives.
Before becoming a sociologist, I earned a Master of Divinity from Duke University and was a pastor in Houston. I was drawn to sociology because, as a leader in a religious community, I saw the powerful social forces that shaped neighborhoods and entire cities.
I am married to Emma, a veterinarian, and we have two wonderful children.
Degrees EarnedPh.D. and M.A. (Baylor University); M.Div. (Duke Divinity School); B.A. (Baylor University)
Sociology of Religion, Gender, and Organizations
2020 Ferguson, Todd W. “Whose Bodies? Bringing Gender into Interaction Ritual Chains.” Sociology of Religion. 81(3): 247-271.
2020 Ferguson, Todd W. “Organizational Resources and the Gender Gap in Congregational Lay Leadership.” Sociological Forum. 35(1): 126-144.
2019 Packard, Joshua and Todd W. Ferguson. “Being Done: Why People Leave the Church but Not Their Faith.” Sociological Perspectives. 62(4): 499-517.
2018 Martinez, Brandon C., Joshua C. Tom, Todd W. Ferguson, Brita Andercheck, and Samuel Stroope. “Parenting Practices and Attitudes and the Role of Belief in Supernatural Evil: Results from a National U.S. Survey.” Journal of Family Issues. 39(6): 1616-1638.
2018 Ferguson, Todd W. “Female Leadership and Role Congruity within the Clergy: Communal Leaders Experience No Gender Differences Yet Agentic Women Continue to Suffer Backlash.” Sex Roles. 78(5): 409-422.
2017 Ferguson, Todd W., Samuel Stroope, Brandon C. Martinez, Joshua C. Tom, and Brita Andercheck. “Social Sources of Community Solidarity in US Congregations.” Sociological Spectrum. 37(4): 223-236.
Honors and Awards
Phi Beta Kappa (2004, Baylor, Zeta Chapter of Texas)