Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


<--Please Select Department-->


A new generation of passionate young leaders is arriving. Their commitment to Christ shows signs of vitality through fresh expressions of faith. However, is the church of North America-primarily led by Boomer leaders-ready for them? It is my claim that many of today's churches can thrive into the next decades as insightful and courageous Boomer leaders begin now to prepare for healthy leadership succession. Practical and realistic changes can now be made by Boomer leaders to facilitate an effective hand-off to Generation Y leaders. However, if intentional efforts are not made by the leaders who currently hold the positions of responsibility, the North American church is on the verge of suffering a significant setback as Generation Y leaders are not likely to invest their lives in these ministries as they exist today. Multiple voices are offering solutions to this problem. It has been suggested by some that a complete dismantling of the organized church is necessary. Others call for church planting. Some advocate that new church expressions, sometimes referred to as missional communities, must replace the old. Meanwhile, many existing leaders are unaware that a major transition is coming. They continue to function out of the ministry context they learned in seminary thitiy years ago and are not reading the signs of the times. Others are aware of the transition, yet choose to ignore it. The new era feels so overwhelming that they don't know where to begin. Some have responded by choosing to leave the church. 2 I argue that while some degree of dismantling may be helpful and new church expressions must be a continual manifestation of our faith, a wholesale abandonment of the North American church is completely unnecessary. In contrast, I contend that Gen Y leaders will be eager to invest their lives in the North American church if current leaders make strategic changes. Many young leaders will readily bear the ecclesial mantle of the existing church if they do not need to initiate all of the changes they deem necessary. As Boomer leaders leverage their influence to facilitate needed change, an arriving generation of leaders will take courage and advance the North American church into the next decades. My primary audience is the North American ministry leader born before 1964. I assert that they can make a healthy leadership succession possible by instituting changes that reflect Generation Y values, namely: authenticity, community, experience, ownership and mystery. 3 Accompanying this written statement is a final project which illustrates many of the concepts contained herein. The final project is being presented in the form of a fable: The Making of Fabian. This fictional presentation is interwoven with the concepts of generational leadership succession.

Included in

Christianity Commons