Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Christine Roush, DMin

Second Advisor

Aaron Friesen, PhD

Third Advisor

Jason Clark, DMin, PhD


Today’s church faces a difficult reality: its effectiveness in reaching Generation Z is declining, while prospects of the group’s disaffiliation from the church are rising. In proposing a framework for effective engagement with Generation Z in a post-Christian, postmodern context, this dissertation argues that the generation’s desire for relational and identity-transforming leadership renders current growth- and success-driven leadership models ineffective and invites a new, theologically based, actionable/practical paracletic leadership paradigm.

Chapter 1 outlines the challenges and opportunities facing leaders where Gen Z is concerned. Chapter 2 examines Gen Z’s identity as revealed in its spiritual and social cultures and its defining characteristics, which include its diversity, sexual and gender fluidity, anxiety and mental anguish, and a relational disconnect heightened by its “bonding” with algorithms. Chapter 3 explores the biblical and theological foundations of paracletic leadership in relation to the Spirit’s activity, the topics of biblical pneumatology in the Old and New Testaments, Jesus’s discourse on the Spirit, and the Jesus model of the paracletic leader. Chapter 4 then establishes Gen Z’s aforementioned leadership preferences; surveys early church leadership; assesses the Patristics’ pastoral leadership perspectives, comparing them to contemporary trends in church leadership; and considers how the shift might contribute to Gen Z’s disengagement from the church. Finally, Chapter 5 proposes a conceptual framework of paracletic leadership that recognizes the historical procession into which today’s leader enters, the side-by-side nature of paracletic leadership, and the necessary synergy of the divine and human that engages Gen Z and guides them toward transformation in Christ. The chapter then integrates the concept of paracletic leadership with Robert E. and Ryan W. Quinn’s fundamental state of leadership, thus providing a practical application for serving and engaging Generation Z.

Included in

Christianity Commons