Date of Award


Document Type


Primary Advisor

Dr. Tom Milholland

Secondary Advisor

Dr. Robert Scott

Committee Reader

Dr. Charles Siburt


This study investigates two congregations among Churches of Christ with a prototype instrument adapted from questions used in a national survey (The Unchurched American, The Princeton Religion Research Center, 1978). The ministry objective for this project thesis is to generate an assessment instrument to be used as a tool for ministry between active and inactive church members.

Specific questions addressed are: what are the patterns of disengagement and re-entry in two local congregations connected with Churches of Christ? Is the disengagement of teenagers and young adults (age 13-24) in each local congregation measurably greater than other recognized age categories over the life cycle? Is the re-entry of young adults between the ages of 20 through 34 measurably greater than other recognized age categories over the family life cycle?

In addition, what can be learned to assist ministry within the local congregation for families, parents, and teenagers in anticipation of adolescents emancipating during this transitional period of the family life cycle? What can be learned from these findings to assist ministry within the ii congregation in bridging to young families, couples, and singles who have earlier disengaged, but now might likely re-enter meaningful, active church membership?

Since the operational variable in the two hypotheses for this study is age at the time of disengagement and reentry, the general research method used was a descriptive survey patterned after the model used by Gallup (1978). Essentially, the most pertinent questions and answers from the descriptive survey which Gallup developed were designed to generate quantitative data that measured the period of time between disengagement and re-entry of any person interviewed, if such had occurred.

Predominantly in both congregations, there was a finding that disengagement occurs from the teenage years through the mid-twenties. In each of these congregations, the process of re-entry is occurring as inactive church members reach the mid-twenties and the mid-thirties.

Evidence from these findings tends to support superseding the prevailing ministry model of linear causation. An interactive model provided by family systems theory can create ministry between both active and inactive church members.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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