Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Moncauskas, Debra

Second Reader

Jeanine Parolini

Third Reader

Kate Scorgie


Beginning in March 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic forced evangelical parents to adjust their parenting and Christian discipleship. With in-person gatherings limited, families and churches had to reorient to more isolation and less community. This study sought to explore this experience among evangelical parents of congregations of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in the Greater Richmond area. Using an embedded single-case study research method with multiple participants, the researcher gathered data from one hundred one participants representing about sixty families units through virtual focus groups, in-person interviews, and online surveys. This research began with an extensive biblical, theological, and historical survey regarding the history of childhood in the church, the church’s responsibility to its covenant children, the nature of spiritual orthodoxy and its relationship to the growth of Christian disciples, the field of spiritual development and stage development theories, the role of catechesis in cultivating a spiritual orthodoxy in covenant children, and the impact of involuntary isolation and subsequent loss of community. Once this preliminary research was conducted, the researcher conducted his field research using the insights from his earlier biblical and literature review. Through this research, the researcher came to seven conclusions and discovered three principles about parenting as part of a church community during a pandemic. Among these conclusions, the researcher found that Christian education without the church community is at best adequate but incomplete, rife with stress and anxiety, and that the COVID-19 quarantine created suffering in the lives of parents and children that will play a role in their Christian discipleship for years to come. More longitudinal studies should be conducted to discover whether or not the effects of the COVID-19 quarantine on parents, children, and churches will be long-lasting.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis