Abstract: In light of precedent studies showing a connection between self-efficacy perceptions and the integration of technology in the classroom, this article provides a brief report on the findings from research conducted to see whether youth ministers experience similar challenges regarding their perceptions in integrating technology into the practice ministry. The research focuses on self-efficacy perceptions in integrating technology against demographic factors, the extent of technology use, exposure to technology integration methodology in formal ministry training, and support from their various social networks. Additionally, youth ministers provide valuable feedback regarding what they believe to be the greatest needs in improving ministerial training. The study uses a descriptive embedded mix-method design (Plano Clark & Creswell, 2007, p. 376) predominantly quantitative with qualitative data serving in a secondary, supportive role (Leedy & Ormrod, 2014, p. 10). Key findings in the report demonstrate that certain demographic factors indeed influence one’s self-efficacy perspective. Additionally, while youth ministers are acutely aware of the kinds of social media platforms their teenagers are using, they have reservations about using these platforms in ministry. Youth ministers generally have negative opinions about their ministerial training as it relates to integration strategies. According to participant feedback, while churches are generally receptive to the use of technology, the youth ministers’ seminary experience proved to be more adverse to technological advancement. As a result, youth ministers felt as though they were addressing the challenges of digital culture without the proper tools. They wanted more training that presents a balanced approach highlighting the inherent weaknesses of technology, but also demonstrating its strengths.
Dr. Sam Totman is Director of External Relations for Clamp Divinity School at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. He also serves as Adjunct Professor of Christian Studies teaching both Youth and Media Ministry. Dr. Totman earned an Ed.D. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for his research in Preparedness and Self-Efficacy Perceptions in Integrating Technology into Youth Ministry.