Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Rick Garner


Christian Education, Church Ministry, Homeschool, Missions, Teenagers, Youth Ministry


Christianity | Other Religion | Practical Theology | Religion


Parents make agonizing educational decisions for their children, and there are more options than ever before. Some opt to teach their children in the home; others pay handsomely to put their children in the best private schools money can buy. The remaining groups of parents select public, charter, or magnet schools based on those schools’ particular merits or because those schools represent their primary educational option. These subtle lifestyle decisions are building blocks upon which students develop their personality, intellectual ambition, extracurricular interests, and social networks. Neighborhoods, schools, and community activities are often as influential in the formation of a student’s identity as their socioeconomic background, cultural heritage, or family milieu. With the erosion of neighborhood relationships and detachment from traditional norms, educational institutions provide a comprehensive solution for busy families to organize the educational, social, and recreational aspects of their lifestyles. Schools, therefore, have become the new neighborhood in American life. Pastors tend to be ill-prepared for the unique dynamics families bring to the church from their various walks of life. This paper will examine methods for assimilating public, private, and homeschool students into a cohesive student ministry where they can retain their identity, be enriched by other students’ experiences, and, most importantly, be united by their faith in serving Christ in their student ministry and in the greater church body.