Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


College of Christian Ministries and Religion


Department of Christian Ministries and Religion

Primary Advisor

Dr. Jim P. Vigil

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Gaulden

Third Advisor

Dr. Robby Waddell


In the aftermath of a child's death, the researcher's personal experience revealed a gap between the need for holistic spiritually based support and the availability of such resources from the local church. People, including the local church, maybe unaware of such a gap until support is required. When a congregant experiences a child's death, their spiritual support system may not be prepared to offer the necessary support and guidance. The church's insufficient preparation to minister to grieving people became the "elephant in the room" for the researcher and needed to be discussed. This research developed and applied a standardized grief theology of parental grief, which helps to guide grieving parents to seek God for comfort and hope as they struggle to accept their child's death. In light of the limited resources available, the question needs to be asked if the amount of pastoral care training for ministers is sufficient for what they will face in the daily duties as a pastor. Without a standard in grief care, American churches may experience a chasm between what they perceive to be the wants and needs of bereaved parents versus the expectations of parents who are grieving their child's death. The ministries and counseling offered through those churches may not be effectively meeting the needs of grieving parents. As pastors study grief theology, they may receive personal healing in conjunction with being increasingly involved with the conversations revolving around grief. The congregations that enter each church are not immune to experiencing grief or PTSD.