Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Gary Bredfeldt


Generation Z, Leadership Development, Leadership Development Model, Ministry Leaders


Christianity | Leadership Studies


The purpose of this grounded theory study was to explore the leadership preparedness and biblical worldview of Generation Z (Gen Z) Christian ministry leaders to inform the formation of a theoretical model for ongoing leadership development. Participants (N=7) were paid senior ministry leaders of Assembly of God churches in the Midwest region who were involved in the hiring process and ongoing development of paid Gen Z ministry leaders. Additional participants included ministry leaders who fell within the defined years of the Generation Z cohort (1995-2010) and who had been employed by the church for a minimum of six months (N=10). Data were collected through observations and both structured and unstructured interviews. Data analysis was conducted by using the Strauss and Corbin (2015) data analysis protocol. The model generated from this study utilized the Hrivnak, Jr. et al. (2009) theoretical framework for leadership development as a starting point for targeting key development needs specific to Gen Z ministry leaders. The model reflects the important components of ongoing leadership development that were expressed by participants as needing additional growth. These areas included spiritual formation, leadership skills, interpersonal skills, and organizational skills. Research showed that Gen Z leaders primarily manifested unpreparedness for leadership through spiritual stagnation, struggles in navigating the human aspects of the job, and failure to capture the big picture of the church as an interconnected and living organism. This new model for ongoing Gen Z leadership development suggests important implications and applications for stakeholders committed to investing in their ongoing development.