Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

David McDonald, DMin

Second Advisor

Rob Parker, DMin


Most studies indicate over two-thirds of churched young adults stop participating in church life one year after high school graduation. This generation represents one of the least churched generations in American history. After spending millions of dollars on elaborate children’s and youth programs, churches experience young adult attrition. Young adults themselves seem ill prepared for this life stage. Churches who do not intentionally address the needs of young adults or view the exodus as inevitable miss the mandate to facilitate lifelong followers of Jesus.

In Section One, a review of developmental markers, faith stage development theory, and the uniqueness of the current young adult predicament reveals young adults are in a transitional stage of life, typically are between the ages of eighteen to twentynine, and are traversing the complex migration from adolescence to adulthood. These findings are integrated into an analysis of young adult church attrition. Young adult migration is accentuated by critical distancing from previous authority structures and establishing new authority sources. Situational and ideological factors catalyze their departure from church life. In Section Two, I analyzed alternate ways the Christian community has attempted to retain young adults. In Section Three, I offer a solution for young adult attrition called “Meshed Young Adult Ministry.” Meshed ministry builds on four modalities: (1) adaptable engagement; (2) interlaced structures; (3) elastic shaping; and (4) breathable sanctuaries. These modalities represent modes of ministry rather than specific steps to implement. The artifact for this study, a website for church leaders, will include examples of practical ways to implement Meshed ministry as well as expand on the material covered.

Included in

Christianity Commons