Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


John R. Beck


Gen Z, Generation Z, church revitalization, COVID-19, coronavirus, phenomenological study, church decline, youth pastors, pastors




The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the perceived influence that Generation Z had upon the revitalization of a church following its in-person decline as a result of the coronavirus in 2020 (Barna, 2020; Braddy, 2021; Earls, 2020). The theory that guided this study was based on research conducted by Lifeway Research, Pew Research, and Barna Group Research concerning Generation Z and based upon the book, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…And Rethinking Faith, by David Kinnaman of Barna Research. The theories proposed within the books, Essential Church? Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts by Rainer and Rainer and Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches That Reach Them by Stetzer, Stanley, and Hayes were also used as a basis for this study. These resources adhered to the belief that the church has continued to lose a vital resource as it has continued to lose Generation Z, its young adults, especially ages between 18 and 22. The methodology used to conduct this study was in-depth interviews (Wengraf, 2006) with the participants within their natural church setting (Creswell & Creswell, 2018) or through the use of Zoom. The information obtained from these interviews was analyzed and coded (Saldana, 2021; Vanover, et al., 2022) to search for themes and commonalities among the participants in the study. Because the leadership within a church setting usually determined the direction that the organization would go (Bredfeldt, 2006; DePree, 2004), the pastors and/or the youth pastors within each of the churches used in the study were also interviewed as to their perceptions of the influence that Generation Z had upon the revitalization of the church.

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