Project Documents

Date of Award

1987

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

Fritz Guy

Third Advisor

Benjamin D. Schoun

Abstract

Purpose

The impetus for the research was a transfer from a rural parish to the Newbury Park Seventh-day Adventist Church on the campus of Newbury Park Adventist Academy. Because a majority of the congregation are employed by denominational institutions, it was presumed that the institutional character of the congregation would influence their needs and expectations for preaching. Therefore the research was designed to ascertain those needs and expectations, and to find any difference between institutional and noninstitutional members.

The Case for a Congregational Analysis

The study presents a case for congregational analysis. The first line of argument is based upon the belief that preaching is a human process God utilizes through the Spirit in His endeavor to reconcile man to relationship with Himself. The categories of systematic theology reveal that God consistently shapes His ministry to the specific needs and capabilities of the human race. If preaching is to contribute to God's redemptive ministry, it must take the needs of its listeners seriously.

A second line of argument suggests that Scriptural models provide a precedent that preachers must contextualize the historic kerygma in terms that are relevant to the modern hearer. A third line demonstrates the consensus from homileticians that dialogical preaching and communication theory mandate greater people-centeredness.

Principles and Methods of Congregational Analysis

A review of homiletical literature brought to light methods that preachers can utilize in order to become aware of the perspectives and felt needs the congregation brings to the rpeaching event.

The Project in the Newbury Park Church

Methods of congregational analysis were applied in the Newbury Park Church. The information from the questionnaires, interviews, and sermon groups was compiled and used to inform the preparation of eight sermons from Luke which were presented during December 1985 to January 1986. Feedback was then elicited from the congregation.

Conclusion

The central conclusion of the research was that while the felt needs and expectations for preaching are common to members of every type of congregation, the perceived need for particular issues to be addressed is felt more intensely by institutional members of the Newbury Park church.

Subject Area

Preaching; Seventh-day Adventists--California--Newbury Park

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