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The goal of this project was to pioneer a class which would nurture indigenous leadership among high school students in a Christian school by redefining leadership and Christian relationships, focusing on power relationships. This project was meant to encourage students to re-imagine what healthy power relationships should look like and how healthy ministry could be done by adolescents. The laboratory for this experiment took the form of a ministry focus class that was first offered during the 2009-2010 academic year at Southlands Christian Schools in Walnut, California.

The class focused on the theological themes of theologia crucis, missio Dei, priesthood of all believers and spiritual gifts. These topics were discussed to lay a foundation of what healthy relationships and power dynamics among Christians might look like. Surveys were taken of this class and also of the school at large. The students then embarked on ministry projects within the school in order to get a taste of leadership and also to see how healthy power relationships might operate. At the conclusion of these projects, the students were asked to reflect upon their thoughts of leadership and power relationships.

This project illustrated that a majority of the students in the class saw that their ideas of power and relationships were not Christian but more corporate or religious. It demonstrated that a better way to practice relationships and leadership existed. While the first year of this class did not completely change the culture at Southlands Christian Schools, it did start the discussion of how to continue this shift and to sustain such a shift in the culture of the school.

Content Reader: Dr. Charles Arn, Ed.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Arn, Charles

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Southlands Christian Schools (Walnut, Calif.); Church work with teenagers; Christian leadership


Missions and World Christianity


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