Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Sydney Brown

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to provide a case study on the application of service-learning curriculum in a youth ministry at a traditional mid-size church. The intent of the curriculum was to provide a new and creative way for the church to impact youth by getting them involved in actions that correspond with Biblical principles. Church leaders hope that this curriculum change will not only impact youth in their teens but also influence them to remain involved in a traditional church as they reach college and become young adults.

The researcher used the process model of curriculum study from Lawrence Stenhouse (Smith, 2000) to investigate the selection, implementation, and desired outcomes of service learning. The researcher, who also served as the Student Minister at the church, used qualitative data collection methods to discover the thoughts of students who left the ministry prior to service-learning implementation. He then compared that to focus-group research, survey responses, and interviews of youth and young adults as well as adult leaders of the youth ministry.

The research sought to demonstrate the impact of service learning on the youth ministry, as well as the potential impact on youth as they grow into young adulthood. The youth and adults involved had very positive reactions to the curriculum; however, the church did not share that reaction. In fact, certain elements of the church tried to block certain aspects of the curriculum. How the youth and the church respond organizationally and educationally in the future will determine the overall impact of the curriculum. If changes and improvements can be implemented, the present case study may provide a model for youth ministry that can have a positive impact on young adults as well as the larger Christian community.

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