Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Mission and Ministry PhD

First Advisor

Bruce L. Bauer

Second Advisor

Wagner Kuhn

Third Advisor

Merlin Burt

Abstract

The present study examines the impact of the Seventh-day Adventist Church's structure on mission effectiveness in taking the gospel to unreached people groups between 1980 and 2010. A historical descriptive study, this dissertation's theory base includes structure from an anthropological perspective; structure, mission, and effectiveness from an organizational perspective; and church structure and mission effectiveness in Christian history.

The impact of structure on mission effectivenessis evaluated in the present work by looking for patterns in history in which the structure has been either a facilitator or a hindrance for establishing churches among those who have not been reached with the gospel. This work surveyed previous studies on the different areas of the theory base, and its primary sources include annual statistical reports and other documents from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and their Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, as well as board minutes and denominational journals.

The findings reveal that, although the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization was started with missionary concerns in mind and has clearly defined its mission, its current performance metrics do not reveal much about the organization's effectiveness in achieving its mission. These measures--as reflected in the Annual Statistical Reports --as well as all administrative decisions, including but not limited to Interdivision Employee assignment, Thirteenth Sabbath School projects selection, and evangelistic/institutional employee ratios, should be better aligned with the mission of reaching the unreached.

It is also necessary to nurture a healthier, mutually affirming, government/industries-like relationship between the church's formal structure and the many semi-autonomous mission structures that have been born within the church, a relationship where the denomination regulates but not administrates its mission structures, and where mission structures actually engage in mission instead of wasting time and energy in demonstrating they do the work better than the demomination's structure.

Subject Area

Missions, Mission of the church, Seventh-day Adventists --Missions, Seventh-day Adventists --Government

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