Date of Award
Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives (DLd)
Diane Zemke, PhD
Rebecca Jeong, PhD
Jason Swan Clark, DMin, PhD
Massive cultural and technological shifts usher in a new digital age, creating a leadership crisis in the American church. In a time of decline, how can the church thrive in the future? The answer to that question resides in future leadership in the church. The NPO for the Project states: The church needs to develop digital learners into new leaders for the next generation. The Project was developed to offer one tool to onboard new Christians toward future leadership. A few essential insights emerged from the research for the Project. First, in addition to significant cultural changes, there is emerging proof of biological changes in digital natives’ brain wiring. The digital age contains more than a generation gap. In addition, the research identified a longing for mentorship by digital natives. A coach in the context of a relationship offers future effectiveness over a master teacher delivering lectures or written content. Finally, research proved the value of learning through experience as a way to internalize and retain understanding. My ministry context as a Lead Pastor is in northern Utah, an area predominantly comprised of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) and those with no faith. Over the last several years, many people have started their faith journey. However, those new Christians lack any framework of Christian beliefs and practices. The Project is an app titled “Leadership Onramp.” Eight animated sessions designed for digital learners introduce new Christians to foundational topics. Session questions get processed with an existing ministry leader and active engagement in a ministry role. Three core principles guide a participant toward future church leadership: digital content, relational context, and experiential learning. Participation in the process offers one way to narrow the gap between new Christian faith and future leadership. The Project is customizable and scalable to any ministry context.
Gruber, Roy, "Developing New Church Leaders in a Digital Age" (2023). Doctor of Leadership. 15.