Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Pastoral Theology (PThD)

Schools and Centres

Philosophy and Theology

First Supervisor

Dr Glenn Morrison

Second Supervisor

Professor Dennis Rochford


Within the contemporary Australian context, it is evident that the young people who represent Generation Y (born, 1981 – 1995) are not engaged by a Christian faith. This thesis will set out an approach that will seek to re-envisage the transmission of a Christian faith to the members of Generation Y in Australia through a Pauline pastoral theology of mission. Hence, this thesis aims:

1. To provide a theological hermeneutic of pastoral mission that may be a partner in dialogue with other approaches to ministry among Generation Y.

2. To assist the Christian churches in their consideration of some of the issues surrounding the general absence of Generation Y in their communities by drawing on scripture as a historical source of Christian theology.

3. To serve Generation Y with a pastoral response that endeavours both to draw from the foundational elements of the Christian faith and to suggest theological conclusions fitting for the post-modern world they inhabit.

The methodological structure of this thesis is based upon Whitehead and Whitehead’s theological process of ‘attending’, ‘asserting’ and ‘deciding’. In ‘attending’, this thesis engages with sociological, psychological, neurophysiological and theological data regarding the spirituality of Generation Y in Australia. It also ‘attends’ to a Pauline theology of faith as it is presented in the text of 2 Corinthians 4. Further, it brings the worlds of Paul and Generation Y into dialogue and ‘assertion’ through the epistemology and theology of mission of Lesslie Newbigin. The final phase of this thesis involves the proposal of a set of pastoral dispositions (habitus) which may guide the ‘decisions’ of the Christian churches as they seek to reach out to Generation Y in mission. Three fields of mission – authenticity, proximity and intelligibility – are considered in relation to an encounter between Australia’s Christian churches and Generation Y. Through this process a new Pauline habitus of transmission is offered. The missional roles of kenosis, patience and apprenticeship in the Christian tradition are all discussed as ways that the Christian churches may re-engage with Generation Y in Australia through a renewed disposition of mission.

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of: Doctor of Pastoral Theology College of Theology and Philosophy University of Notre Dame (Australia), Fremantle, Western Australia.

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