Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Troy Temple


Student ministry, youth ministry, student pastor, competencies, administration, phronetic


Leadership Studies | Vocational Education


While the impact of a healthy student ministry in the local church is culture-shaping and eternally significant, many churches are not experiencing success in this ministry area. Among the many challenges modern student ministry face, a high turnover rate and perceived lack of competence among student ministry professionals contribute to this lack of sustained fruitful ministry (Devries, 2008). In many cases, the lack of competence is a primary contributing factor to the turnover. While a number of studies have identified the necessity of student ministry professionals possessing sound administrative competencies in sustaining success, a significant gap in the literature exists, especially in the past decade, concerning research and development in the area of administration in student ministry. This sustained literature gap highlights the value of the learned experiences of student ministry veterans in the area of administration, as much of what they have learned in this area is phronetic, having been learned through experience. If such phronetic administrative competencies can be identified and ranked in order of perceived value among student ministry professionals, such information could inform curriculum development in higher education, professional development resources, and hiring practices for the church. The purpose of this exploratory sequential mixed methods research was to determine the nature of phronetic administrative competencies in experienced student ministry practitioners. This study first utilized a Delphi technique to collect data in a qualitative form regarding transformative administrative proficiencies most valued by an expert panel. This study then collected data in a quantitative form regarding perceived proficiency, value, and source of learned administrative proficiencies by student ministry professionals according to church size, educational background, and ministry experience.