Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Barnett College of Ministry & Theology


Department of Christian Ministries and Religion

Primary Advisor

Dr. Robert Houlihan

Second Advisor

Dr. Jamie Steward

Third Advisor

Dr. Jim P Vigil


The dropout rate of more than five million young adults from faith and church in the last decade, who were originally born and raised in Christian homes, has reached a critical point. The Christian community must rethink its discipleship methods in order to impact the youth of today.

The researcher explored the root causes of the problem and identified that the current discipleship assumptions and strategies, rooted in modern mechanistic mass production paradigm do not work. Therefore, these assumptions and strategies must give way to a personally crafted one-on-one relational fatherly mentorship interconnected approach for the faith formation of the youth of the Church in the United States. Existing research findings from Barna, Pew, and Fuller Institute indicated a crucial need for a new ecosystem of spiritual and vocational apprenticeship. This system can support deeper relationships and more vibrant faith formation and discipleship, which must be intentionally pursued by church leaders of today.

During the first century, the Apostle Paul, undoubtedly understood the concept of one-on-one relational mentorship. His discipleship efforts impacted significantly the lives of young adults like Timothy, Titus, Luke, and Onesimus, to name a few. Paul's influence on these young men was so impactful that his departure from active ministry following his arrest in Jerusalem did not affect negatively the growth of the church.

The researcher identified the great principles of the Pauline concept of discipleship, including love, relationship, fathering, and mentorship, and has employed these concepts to address the reasons youth gave for their disconnection from faith and church. These include, but are not limited to overprotective parents and leaders, shallow teachings, anti-science rhetoric, repressive bias, doubts, and exclusivity. Leaders of the twenty-first-century church in the United States of America must innovatively adopt and incorporate the basic principles of the Pauline model of discipleship to end or at least minimize the current youth dropout rate.