A major in youth discipleship serves as excellent preparation for callings in youth ministry, religious education, and community support.

Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy

Youth Discipleship Studies Major

As a Youth Discipleship Studies major you will gain an understanding of basic principles of youth discipleship in a Christian context along with Christian discipleship principles among other age groups. You will learn about principles of leadership and administration for effective youth discipleship. You will also practice critical reflection and analysis and develop communication skills to share their research, learning, and ideas.


You will take courses in youth discipleship, church leadership, history and philosophy of religious education. Your Youth Discipleship Studies major serves as excellent preparation for callings in youth ministry, religious education, and community support.


GWU’s Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy promotes an environment of supportive discussion, respectful debate, and increasing self-awareness. The professors in the Department are committed believers with an openly confessional stance.  Yet they will challenge you to think for yourself and to examine many points of view. Raising questions, engaging in discussion and participatory learning are central to the classroom experience. You will be encouraged to gain understanding of your own culture, values, and faith and to develop practical plans for lifelong learning and service.


Our faculty members are dedicated to lives of scholarly exploration of our Christian heritage and living lives reflecting these ideals. We are passionate about communicating these ideals to our students, our campus, and our community.


As a GWU student in the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy, you will have the opportunity to benefit from enriching and challenging extracurricular experiences such as study abroad or travel to regions of historical and religious significance, as well as local, national, and international mission opportunities.


Christian Service Organization

Gardner-Webb's Christian Service Organization provides scholarships for deserving, financially needy students who are preparing for full-time Christian vocational service.


Religious Studies Association

Religious Studies Association is a peer organization for Religious Studies majors and minors but is open to students of any major. It is student-led and provides opportunities for fellowship, learning and service. Religion majors and minors are required to attend four out of six yearly meetings.


Theta Alpha Kappa

Our campus chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honors society for religious studies and theology, recognizes students for outstanding academic achievement and offers opportunities for professional advancement.


Philosophy Reading Group

The Philosophy Ready Group provides students with opportunities for learning and community outside the classroom. Led by Dr. Perry Hildreth, Professor of Philosophy, students have recently read and discussed the writings of Wendell Berry, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Saint Augustine.


Campus Ministries United (CMU)

Through the Office of Christian Life and Service, Campus Ministries United (CMU) sponsors a number of organizations offering student opportunities for fellowship and service. These include: Verge (student worship service), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Fellowship of Christians United in Service (FOCUS), Missions Possible, Prison Fellowship, prayer ministry, small groups, and Celebration Week.



GWU Youth Discipleship majors are required to complete a practicum course or summer internship course. These hands-on learning experiences provide practical benefits, intensive learning, and community connections. The internship required for Youth Discipleship majors must be in the area of Youth Ministry. Opportunities may include ministries in:

  • Local churches
  • Para-church organizations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Missionary organizations



A degree in Youth Discipleship offers excellent training for many careers in service and ministry. You will develop valuable skills in communication, critical thinking, research, and interpersonal relationships. Possible career choices include, among others: counselor, community organizer, educator, minister, youth pastor, nonprofit administrator, missionary, and social worker. You will also be well prepared for further studies at the graduate level.



GWU Religious Studies and Philosophy alumni have pursued or are pursuing graduate degrees at universities such as Gardner-Webb University, Baylor University, Duke University, Harvard University, Mercer University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, and Wake Forest University. Others are serving as ministers at local churches, chaplains in the military, missionaries, or are working with non-profit or para-church organizations.



Dr. Eddie Stepp

Phone: (704) 406-3269

Email: estepp@gardner-webb.edu