Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Kathleen M. Boyle, Ph.D.; Fr. Jean-Pierre Bongila, Ed.D.; Sarah Noonan, Ed.D.


What is the lived experience of Millennials in ministry, specifically those in their first ministry position? What factors affect the job satisfaction and retention of Millennials in ministry roles at local churches?

Unique factors and perspectives affected the job satisfaction and retention of Millennials in ministry positions. In-depth interviews with fifteen Millennial graduates of a Christian university provided the data for this research. Each had served in ministry for a minimum of nine months. Interviews revealed a vision for the church that differed from some traditional church practices. Phenomenological aspects of this study produced an account of the lived experience of Millennials in ministry. Themes that emerged as important in the experience of participants included a sense of calling, relationships with leaders and colleagues, effectiveness in their role, and feeling meaning and fulfillment in their work. Relationships with leaders and colleagues on staff emerged as one of the most vital aspects of ministry experience. This study explored factors affecting job satisfaction and produced a grounded theory of the emerging vision and values of Millennials in ministry. It revealed a Millennial view of the church as family rather than church as business. It demonstrated working at a church that embraced and practiced their values proved important to job satisfaction and retention. Primary among the values expressed by participants were family and relationships. Millennials expected and appreciated engaged leaders. They desired mentorship and personal relationships with mature adults who encouraged and supported them as they navigated the uncertainties of young adulthood. Developmental theories helped illustrate the importance of these mentoring relationships. Millennials valued people over programs, relationships over products and conversations over presentations. Reciprocal and servant leadership theories provided insight into effective practices for leaders and churches seeking to maximize Millennial job satisfaction and retention in ministry.


Calling, Christians, Christianity, Church, Clergy, Faith, Local Church

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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