Dale Stairs (’94), Senior Director of Student Life and Transformation, successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled “Discipleship Methods and Practices within the Youth Ministries of the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches (1945-2010).” This completes the requirements for his PhD from the Free University of Amsterdam.
The dissertation examines CBAC youth discipleship from the perspective of paid and volunteer youth workers. Andrew Root’s work on the theological turn in youth ministry was used as a critical lens for the research project.
Dr. Stairs, who has spent much of his career working with student ministries, says his doctoral work was a direct extension of his passion for working with youth and young adults. “The motivation for my research came directly from my many years of working with young people,” he said. “I want those of us that work with them to continually be improving in our discipleship methods.”
As director not only of Crandall’s Student Life and Transformation department, but also of the Crandall-Acadia Bachelor of Theology Partnership and the ClayStone Certificate, Dr. Stairs continues his work with students, and says that the in-depth study of the history of Atlantic Canadian student ministry has informed his own philosophy of working with students. “My research has shaped much of what we do in the programs,” said Stairs. “Three key elements for me are high-level mentoring, communities of spiritual practice, and integrating students into local churches. We are continually working to grow in these areas.”
Crandall University President, Dr. Bruce Fawcett, commented, “I have worked alongside Dale in different settings for more than two decades and continue to be impressed not only with his compassion for young people but also with his focus, determination, and self-discipline. It is a challenge to complete a PhD while serving in demanding roles. Dr. Stairs deserves our admiration for completing this degree, and his wife Twila deserves equal recognition for her support and encouragement.”
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