Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Arnold A. Kurtz
Ivan T. Blazen
Problem. The Seventh-day Adventist denomination sees itself as under mandate to present and demonstrate to the world a special message. This mission has been taken as the challenge to "finish the work." In the New Testament, the church in ministry is often presented in terms of the operation of spiritual gifts by which the Holy Spirit equips the individual member for a unique work. Yet Seventh-day Adventists have, for the most part, given very little attention to this subject except for an emphasis on the gift of prophecy. Would a more comprehensive presentation of this doctrine for purposes of its understanding and utilization lead to a greater interest and dedication for Christian service within the membership?
Method. Three steps were utilized in the project: (1) a Biblical study of the subject of spiritual gifts was undertaken, supplemented by the investigation of recent literature on the topic; (2) this material was translated into various pastoral assignments, by means of which the Adventist congregation at Galt, California, was introduced to concepts and operations that utilized the doctrine of spiritual gifts; and (3) an endeavor was made to understand the church members' response to the programs and to evaluate their perception of its impact.
Results. The project demonstrated that by the vehicle of the pastor's regular channels of communication, the target congregation developed a wide awareness of teachings inherent in the doctrine of "gifts." Members perceived a number of ways in which they and others were positively affected in life and experience. New concepts of member/body relationships were recognized by members of the church.
Conclusions. Basic conclusions arising out of the project were: (1) an emphasis on the reception of the spiritual gifts doctrine has practical value for Adventist teaching and its acceptance by church members leads to a renewed sense of loyalty to the body and dedication to its mission; (2) the setting of spiritual gifts within the body metaphor helps individual members discover that each has been given a unique ability for service in contrast to seeing oneself in terms of a mass stereotype; and (3) this spiritual-gifts emphasis is a useful complement to presentations and programs on church growth.
Bennett, Lester Levi, "A Study of Spiritual Gifts With a Program Designed for Its Understanding and Implementation by a Local Congregation" (1979). Project Documents. 152.
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