Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
pastoral counseling, blog, podcast, poster, internet, digital, Millennial, Gen-Z
Christianity | Counseling
Woolverton, Stephen Lyon, "Being Present without Being Present: An Internet-Based Approach to Providing Pastoral Counseling to an Always Online Generation" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4798.
The increasing reliance that Millennials and Gen-Z Christians have on the internet for almost every question that comes up in their lives should be viewed by pastoral counselors as a cultural context that need to be understood as part of the counseling process and not an obstacle to the counseling process. The emergence of the internet, and the part that it has played in the culture of American Christians who have grown up with constant access to this avenue of communication, has only recently begun to be seen and utilized by pastoral counselors. This research uses the perspective of a new church in a major metropolitan area made up entirely of Millennial and Gen-Z members to discuss three avenues for providing pastoral counseling via the internet: (i) Blogs, (ii) podcasts, and (iii) digital posters. Interviews were used to determine the attitudes the members had toward pastoral counseling, which then led to investigating these internet tools by the current use, popularity, and ability to effectively communicate from both secular and Christian sources. The positive results of this research indicate these platforms are valuable resources to be used in in communicating pastoral counseling content effectively to Millennial and Gen-Z Christians. Future research efforts in this field could provide additional clarity into best practices for internet-based pastoral counseling as well as the effectiveness of other internet-based Christian ministries.