The role of a Christian church in the career development of its congregants

Carolyn Alicia Ruth Stewart, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to examine the role of a Christian church in the career development of its congregants. Contemporary theorists in the 21st century view career development as the totality of an individual's life, and the literature revealed that 85% of Americans claim the practice of Christianity as a major life role. Therefore, an understanding of the church's role in the lives of its congregants is essential when conceptualizing career development theories. Traditional and contemporary theories formed the framework for this examination, which was guided by four research questions: How do congregants of a local church view its contribution to their career development; how do church leaders characterize the potential of the church for making a contribution to the career development of congregants; how useful are church sermon concepts to the career development of congregants; how do church programs and activities contribute to the career development of congregants? A Christian church in South Florida was the study's site, as it was identified as a church which focused on career development. Basic interpretive qualitative inquiry was used to collect and analyze three data sources: interviews, sermon recordings, and church documents. Twenty-four participants were interviewed using two interview guides to elicit perspectives of 15 congregants and 9 church leaders. The interviews and 13 sermon recordings were transcribed and analyzed. Church documents were categorized and analyzed for evidence of career development programs and activities. The findings revealed that the church played the following role in the participants' life career development: empowerment, guidance for life, learning and development, safety and support, and servant-leadership. As a result of their church participation, and through the learning and development from programs and activities, participants developed an awareness of their identity, purpose, and meaning for their lives. These constructs supported their interactions within the environments of home, work, school, and community. This holistic perspective revealed that an integration of traditional and contemporary career development theories was necessary to conceptualize the role of this Christian church in the career development of its congregants.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education|Academic guidance counseling|Religious education

Recommended Citation

Stewart, Carolyn Alicia Ruth, "The role of a Christian church in the career development of its congregants" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3279236.