Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Lisa Coscia

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas Gollery

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan L. Moerschbacher


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the perception children’s pastors have in their ability to provide a comprehensive instructional program for children with special needs. The quantitative study utilized a survey research method to address three research questions. The survey instrument was distributed electronically to children’s pastors nationwide to identify instructional and environmental elements required to provide a comprehensive instructional program within the ministry setting for children with special needs. In an effort to further research why children with special needs do not regularly attend religious worship services, this research study focused on elements that create the greatest obstacles for children’s pastors to provide a comprehensive discipleship program for children with special needs. Researching the elements of curriculum, instruction, classroom management, behavioral management, communication, and inclusive learning gave clearer insight to the resources children’s pastors need to effectively provide inclusive provisions within a place of worship. The study’s participants perceived elements relating to an inclusive environment as most helpful to increase their confidence in creating a comprehensive instructional program for children with special needs. Additionally, children’s pastors overall have a willingness to establish inclusive ministries but lack confidence in their ability to create them effectively. Implications of the study include strategies for bolstering the confidence level of children’s pastors to create inclusive ministries for children with special needs, to provide opportunities to increase the attendance level of children with special needs and their families.