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Lay practitioners of parish-based Christian education ministry within the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod (LCMS): A survey of demographics, ministry roles, and certification interest

Paul Walter Schoepp, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The purpose of this survey study was to focus on full-time lay practitioners of parish-based Christian education within The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) and explore three variables: demographics, ministry roles, and certification issues. The entire accessible population was studied and data were gathered through the use of a mail-out survey and five contact protocol. Data were analyzed both with descriptive and inferential statistics at the .01 level of significance. ^ Results indicated a population of 112 full-time lay practitioners serving LCMS congregations. This population was diverse in regards to occupational and educational background and how their ministry positions developed. The typical lay practitioner was 40 years old, previously a member of the congregation they served, had served that congregation for six years, and anticipated eleven more years of ministry. ^ Significant demographic contrasts to the LCMS Director of Christian Education (DCE) population showed that lay practitioners were older, had less total ministry experience, had less education, were more likely to be female, and were paid less. Ministry role contrasts showed lay practitioners spent significantly more time than DCEs in Karpenko's (1997) roles of leader and administrator, and significantly less time in the roles of education program resource, parish teacher, and volunteer specialist. Lay practitioners expressed a moderate need for training in nine of ten ministry roles and 75% of lay practitioners expressed some level of interest in DCE certification. The strongest restraints to certification were geographic immobility and cost. Course delivery methods most likely to enhance pursuit of certification were asynchronous distance education formats. ^ Further study was recommended to see if DCE training was responsible for the different amounts of time spent in ministry roles. Recommendations for practice noted the need to lower the restraints to DCE certification and the need for ongoing discussion centered around the tensions inherent in the theological concepts of “the priesthood of all believers” and “the office of public ministry.” ^

Subject Area

Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Religious

Recommended Citation

Schoepp, Paul Walter, "Lay practitioners of parish-based Christian education ministry within the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod (LCMS): A survey of demographics, ministry roles, and certification interest" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3092591.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3092591

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