Leadership from the Middle: Pathway to a Missional Community


Daniel Yoon

Publication Date



This dissertation examines the role of mid-level leadership in shaping a group of Korean-American young adults into missional disciples within the Korean-American church. For this purpose, I start by surveying research methods. The literature review offers a conceptual basis for understanding the various cultural, spiritual, and organizational contexts of Korean-American churches. In addition, exploring various literatures on leadership and followership has enabled me to identify the potential modes that mid-level leaders can use to shape young adults into missional identity, specifically three approaches to formation (teaching, coaching, and discipling). My interviews with pastors and lay leaders from both Korean-speaking and English-speaking ministry reveal the existence of wide gaps and differences in views of ministerial, cultural, and leadership expectations at Divine Missio Church. The literature on this issue enables me to identify both opportunities and obstacles.

After establishing the context, I attempt to share new insights and findings that emerge from literature reviews and research data about missional leadership. In light of the impact of short-term missions on mission participants, I explore key lessons that they learn about what it means to become missional. This exploration allows me to identify the opportunities and obstacles that mid-level leaders encounter in preparing young adults to grow missional community. This new learning guides me in developing a strategy for mid-level leaders to train, equip, and shape young adults to live a missional life. For this purpose, I provide a brief history of discipleship and explain three approaches (coaching, teaching, and discipling) to discipleship. In addition, I present missional discipleship by integrating the Theory U model into the idea of discipleship. In terms of application, I put these ideas into practice with a group of three young adults at Divine Missio Church.

Finally, I make several recommendations for Korean-American churches as they brace themselves for impending changes on the horizon. I strongly encourage the leaders to develop post-trip discipleship with the purpose of guiding mission participants (young adults) to continue their transformative learning.

Degree Name

Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS)

First Advisor

Glanville, Betsy

Document Type





Church work with youth, Leadership, Church work with young adults, Discipling, Korean Americans, Church work with Korean Americans, Missions, California


Christian Denominations and Sects | Christianity | Missions and World Christianity


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