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Parish Youth Leadership

Available as a concentration

Parish Youth Leadership equips you for a career working with youth in a faith-based setting. By zeroing in on the specific challenges and goals of youth ministry, you will be ready to take an active approach to guiding youth in questions of faith. A concentration in Parish Youth Leadership makes a strong pairing with a major in religious studies or psychology.

Students working with young children

Curriculum & Courses

RELG 130: Living Religions of the World
RELG 225: Religious Life/Young Adults
RELG 250: New Religions in America

Antrim Chapel's steeple

Student Experiences

Ben Cowgill stands with the Roanoke campus in the background.During his time at Roanoke College, Benjamin Cowgill '17 completed research on youth persistence in the Anglican Church.

"In my coursework, I found many authors focusing on the negative (why young people are leaving the church) versus the positive (why they stay involved), and I wanted to look at why some people chose the latter," Cowgill said.

"Roanoke gave me an excellent opportunity to take a question from a regular class and pursue it in a way I would not have been able to without the generous support and encouragement of my mentors at the College."

Bridget Gautieri spent a summer on a European trip designed for young adults involved in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The program enabled Bridget to learn about Lutheran and other Christian organizations around the world and how young adults can be more involved in them. She spent time in Geneva, Switzerland, visiting the Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches, and in Taizé, France, at a Catholic-Christian commune. There, students focused on simple living, silence and Bible study, and took part in the different jobs necessary to keep a commune running.  

Bridget Gautieri stands in a brightly lit church space
“Adwoa Asante used her time well at Roanoke to find out more about herself. With a major in psychology, a minor in religious studies and a concentration in Parish Youth Leadership, she is well-prepared to make a difference in the lives of others. ”

Dr. David Nichols, academic advisor

Study Abroad

Students in front of Jericho

Linnea Kremer and Xiaoyu Lu in front of the city of Jericho wearing Arab scarves that they bought.

Students looking at maps of Israel

All of students look at their maps of Israel in the van en route to the airport. 

Student riding a camel

Hayley Moe riding a camel in Jericho.

Students shopping in the Jerusalem Bazaar

Morgan Hughes and Chelsea Shaffer enjoy shopping in the Jerusalem Bazaar.

Students swimming in the Mediterranean Sea

Benjamin Cowgill and Zachary Wright go swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.

Students visit Herod the Great's Harbor

The students visit Herod the Great's Harbor in Caesarea.

Student in front of the Sea of Galilee

Jaina Lanum posing in front of the Sea of Galilee at Tabgha where Jesus fed the 5,000.

Student in front of a 4th century synagogue

The class visits a 4th-century synagogue in Capernaum.

Students jumping into an outdoor pool

The students get a break from the heat at an outdoor pool. 

Local Arab helping a Roanoke student put on an Arab scarf

A local Arab helps a Roanoke student put on an Arab scarf in Jericho.

Students having fun in the Dead Sea

Zach Wright and Ben Cowgill have fun in the Dead Sea.

Students in front of Jerusalem

The whole class gets a group shot in front of the city of Jerusalem. 




At Roanoke, you'll work one-on-one with professors — who include renowned Christian theologians — as well as with youth pastors in the field. You'll also have the opportunity to experience an internship in Parish Youth Leadership. You can broaden your experiences through travel courses, international service opportunities, study abroad and independent research.  

While our program is designed specifically to prepare you to serve as a youth leader, you also may find this concentration helpful for more general careers in ministry, counseling, social work, community leadership, education and mission work.  

We offer a concentration in Parish Youth Leadership.