Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Barnett College of Ministry & Theology


Department of Christian Ministries and Religion

Primary Advisor

Dr. Duane Durst

Second Advisor

Dr. Jamie Stewart

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Ehler


Young adults in America today are deciding that the Church is no longer relevant, so they are choosing to drop out in increasing numbers. Their disaffiliation from communities of faith is also harming their personal faith. This observation is irrespective of Church denominations; their exodus occurs in most faith groups, including Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, and Pentecostal/Charismatic denominations. Consequently, the future vitality of the Church is threatened. Why does this problem exist, and what can be done to intervene and change the downward trajectory? What should Christian parents and ministry leaders do differently to achieve a higher retention rate of children transitioning through adolescence into adulthood? The research of this project seeks to discern the cause of this withdrawal and recommend solutions to reverse this debilitating trend. Young adults were interviewed – those who have remained in the Church and those who have checked out. Parents of young adults and ministry leaders in positions to observe those young adults were also interviewed. Other researchers have conducted extensive qualitative and quantitative analyses on the perspectives of young adults. Reasons for ecclesiastical departure by young adults have been categorized and noted. The uniqueness of this project is the nexus of Christian parents and ministry leaders partnering together with biblical principles as they focus on the spiritual development of children so that they remain in the Church and the faith. As parents focus on improving the spiritual formation of children in the home and as ministry leaders concentrate on improving the discipleship of children in the Church, the divine blessings promised in Scripture about such collaborative efforts will be explored in this study.