Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Scorgie, Kate

Second Reader

Julie Berndt

Third Reader

John Dunne


The problem that this research addressed is the lack of a Lutheran training framework for suicide prevention in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) in which ministers learn to identify and respond to congregants and colleagues who have suicidal thoughts and wish to die. In response to the problem, this research began with a theological study of three biblical characters (Elijah, Job, and Jonah) that expressed a wish to die. Following the theological study, the researcher reviewed current literature on existing suicide prevention models, best practices for suicide prevention, and pastoral care for people who have suicidal thoughts. The researcher conducted a content analysis of the documents and audio-visual materials of five suicide prevention gatekeeper training programs. From the research and coding of the content, a taxonomy was created for curriculum development. The taxonomy was comprised of nine categories: faith, assessment of suicidal ideation, participant behavior and self-efficacy, referral, delivery, instructional materials, participant materials, skills developed in instructional content, and learning strategies. Following the analysis and integration of the data, the researcher created a framework of suicide prevention training for Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod ministers. The framework included delivery methodology, and content for the training of LCMS ministers to identify and respond to individuals with suicidal thoughts.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis