Project Documents

Date of Award

1986

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Steven P. Vitrano

Second Advisor

Garth D. Thompson

Third Advisor

C. Mervyn Maxwell

Abstract

Problem. How to find time to include evangelistic meetings in ministerial work is one of the most important concerns of Seventh-day Adventist ministers. Models for pastoral evangelistic work usually come from full-time evangelists and not practicing pastors. It was the purpose of this project (1) to determine what responsibility the minister has for conducting public meetings and (2) to demonstrate an approach that would help a pastor include public meetings in his program.

Method. The project was divided into two parts. Part 1 presents data from research on the New Testament, the writings of E. G. White, and Seventh-day Adventist history. Part 2 records personal experiences while conducting public meetings in sackville, Nova Scotia, as pastor of the Sandy Lake SDA Church.

The second part also includes the experience of a recent seminary graduate, Jim Rieder, as he was guided through his first public evangelistic meeting.

Results. Two models for ministerial work found in the New Testament are Jesus and Paul. Their ministries were to continue to widen their circles of influence until the whole world was enveloped.

In her writings, Ellen White makes frequent reference to the models of Jesus and Paul. She holds that soul-winning efforts were to be the primary work of the ministry while in "regions beyond" and while visiting the churches. Large public meetings were to be conducted by men of experience with special gifts, while smaller meetings and house-to-house efforts were the primary work of most ministers. This picture was generally true for the first hundred years of Seventh-day Adventist Church history. Since World War II, ministers have been asked to perform evangelistic efforts while functioning as settled pastors. It appears most settled ministers are struggling to maintain the primacy of soul-winning work in their present ministry.

Both Jim Rieder and I were able to successfully carry out our church responsibilities while preparing, presenting, and following-up the commitments involved with the public meetings.

Conclusions. The New Testament, E. G. White writings, and Seventh-day Adventist historical records affirm that ministers include the public meeting in their shepherding work.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church needs to clarify to ministers and church members what ministerial models are acceptable to the denomination. Even though public evangelism may be difficult for some to include in the present pastoral program, public meetings can still be conducted and become a fulfilling part of every pastor's ministry.

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