Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Dr. Phillip G. Carnes

Second Advisor

Dr. Steve Delamarter


For some churches the most important qualification for a church leader is the person's age. When traditional churches have less younger people, they begin thinking of ways to attract the younger generations. Some churches may conclude that having a younger person in a leadership role will help them attract young people. Because the focus on the church becomes getting younger people, a younger person in a leadership role is most desired; therefore, the person's age becomes the deciding factor of who should be a deacon or elder in the church. Through looking at family system theory, the above approach to leadership development does not address the problem of the church's understanding of leadership. Instead, the church is only responding to the symptom of the problem, which is the non-involvement of the younger generation in the church. When using family system theory to approach the task of developing congregational laity leadership, the mentorship relationship is the best option. Through a mentorship, leadership development becomes an expression of discipleship. Discipleship is the process of faithfully following Christ and learning how to do that in one's life. Relationships are a natural aspect of discipleship. As such, these relationships can develop some additional intentionality through a mentorship emphasis of leadership development. Discipleship to Christ is not leadership development as we are simply called to follow Christ. Leadership development through the mentorship is an additional aspect of the work in the church through the guiding of the Holy Spirit's work in nudging a person into a leadership role for the congregation. The mentorship becomes an expression to explore that nudging and nurture someone into a leadership role based on the Spirit's moving instead of a person's age dictating who should be placed in a leadership role for the church.

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