Project Documents

Date of Award

1981

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Arnold A. Kurtz

Second Advisor

Roger L. Dudley

Third Advisor

Lawrence T. Geraty

Abstract

This project attempts to evaluate the needs of local pastors of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church in North America in the area of career adjustment and personal satisfaction and to design a psycho-social support system potentially applicable to their situation. The literature reviewed indicates that ministers, like other people, are subject to transitions of adult development, stress and crises, and personal characteristics tending to make one vulnerable. The career of ministry subjects a person to role conflicts, pastoral pedestals, family strains, church conflicts, personal issues, denominational pressures, and burn-out. The concept of a psychosocial support system, however, seems to promise an effective way of coping with these circumstances. The concept of support is justified theologically in light of the doctrine of man, the nature and work of ministry, and the means by which God helps people on earth. A random sample survey of SDA ministers in North America indicates that 50 percent of the ministers seem to have a positive attitude, many healthy relationships, and an adequate support system, while 25 percent are ambivalent about the quality of support they experience. Another 25 percent report absence of support and unpleasant experiences in their personal and work relationships. However, 50 to 75 percent, depending on the type of resource, indicate great interest in improving their support system. Greater interest in support resources is correlated with younger age groups. Most desired resources listed in descending order are: peer fellowship and consultation, continuing education, pastors' pastor, congregational relationships. Apparently there is both a need and an interest in improved support systems by SDA pastors. Existing support resources from the business world, independent agencies, non-SDA denominations, and SDA conferences that could apply to ministers, e .g ., career development centers, counseling services, continuing education programs, support groups, and other personal growth resources, are described. Support resources that could contribute to an adequate support system in the SDA Church in North America are: personal resources (spiritual strength, self-counseling, problem-solving, etc .), family resources, training resources (seminary, mentor, continuing education, sabbatical), colleague resources (friendship, consultation, support groups, team ministries), professional resources (pastor's pastor, professional counseling, career development centers), congregational resources, and conference administrative resources.

Subject Area

Clergy

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