Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Seth Polk


Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Discipleship


Christianity | Religion


The thesis of this project is to validate the correlations between the staff's role, leadership development, ministry structure, staff tenure and student development as they relate to retention of students in the local church after high school. Aspects considered include staff role, leadership development, and student development. Staff role covers the tenure of the pastoral staff, unified vision, resources, and congregational support. Leadership development includes enlisting, equipping, encouraging, and evaluating workers. Student development includes evangelism, education, encouragement, and evaluation. Many churches lack a clear plan for students. Untrained volunteers often lead students, or an untrained and inexperienced person is hired to lead the ministry. Utilizing an untrained volunteer student leader to fill a position or hiring someone who is untrained and inexperienced may negatively impact students. Students may not receive the foundational instruction needed for a lifelong pursuit of Christ. The long-term goal of this project is to develop resources to assist churches in building student ministry teams and structures which will keep students connected to the local church after high school. Student ministry should impact students in their cultural setting and adapt to a changing world. Lifelong followers of Christ should be discipled to be on mission for kingdom multiplication and growth. A case study of Cross Lanes Baptist Church is the focus of the project; it includes surveys of former students, as well as current and former adult student ministry leaders. Other published studies will be utilized for comparison.

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