Project Documents

Date of Award

1980

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Werner Vyhmeister

Second Advisor

Ivan T. Blazen

Third Advisor

Norman K. Miles

Abstract

Problem. The Seventh-day Adventist Church perceives itself as having a unique eschatological mission. Numerical growth is an important part of the objective of the SDA Church. To attain this aim, the principles of the church-growth paradigm developed primarily at the "School of World Mission and Institute of Church Growth" at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, has begun to be incorporated into the North American SDA mind-set.

There is minimal documented theological reflection upon church growth done from an SDA perspective. The analysis of the distinctive issues involved yields some concepts that are theologically consistent and some that are inconsistent with an SDA self-understanding.

Representative church-growth literature was consulted to permit identification of the primary principles of its discipline. Insights on the SDA self-understanding relating to church growth was gained from SDA denominational literature, including the writings of Ellen G. White. The harmonies and tensions of the two positions are brought into focus. Key church-growth issues are contextually viewed and critiqued.

Through a dialogical methodology this project dissertation presents an understanding of the major principles involved. In discussing the concepts, the development of an SDA theological response is formulated in an attempt to delimit the possible counterproductivity of unreserved application of the church-growth paradigm. The development of a church-growth paradigm that is relevant to the Swedish SDA Church is presented. The factors of growth and the interrelationship of discipling and nurture are explored. Modification and application modules are included which are directed toward the contextual needs of the SDA Church in Sweden.

The project dissertation concludes that while the church-growth school of thought includes important techniques, there are theological and functional inadequacies. Instead, a holistic church growth that is authentic to the SDA Church should be developed. The importance of maintaining a creative tension between the need for quantitative and qualitative growth of the church, is the emphasis of this project dissertation. The concluding result includes the development of a holistic church growth paradigm that is consistent with the mission of the SDA Church.

Subject Area

Church growth

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