Project Documents

Date of Award

1991

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

C. Raymond Holmes

Second Advisor

Abraham Terian

Third Advisor

Robert M. Johnston

Abstract

This dissertation project developed out of the researcher's own spiritual pilgrimage in a search for greater intimacy with God. An introduction to the ancient spiritual disciplines provided the means for that intimacy to develop and, subsequently, created a desire to share the disciplines in ministry with members of his congregation. A model was envisaged which could become a life-changing event in the life of the individual member. The development and use of this model was the subject of the project.

The model includes an introduction to four basic disciplines: prayer, the devotional use of Scripture, meditation, and journaling. For each discipline, there is also a careful outline presented as to how the discipline may be practiced successfully. A retreat setting, which proved to be very successful, was selected for using the model for the first time. This entire process is carefully described and evaluated in the report with a recommendation that further retreats include more time and that a follow-up plan be in place well in advance.

Included in the project was research into the spiritual formation process— with emphasis on the disciplines, its historical development, its place in Seventh-day Adventist theology, and how it was viewed by Ellen White, one of Adventism's founders. The results from this research were included in the model to provide a background legitimacy for the disciplines as they were introduced. It was discovered that Adventist theologians have had much to say about the holiness God requires from those who are saved, but little practical advice as to how it occurs. In fact, there has been a debate over the years about faith and works with no apparent conclusion. There was convincing evidence, however, that Ellen White understood the spiritual formation process and knew the importance of the spiritual disciplines. Her extensive writing on the subject provided valuable affirmation for the model.

Survey and evaluation instruments were created to determine the need for using the model and for its effectiveness. The survey results which are reported in the dissertation, confirm the need for assistance in developing intimacy with God among those who responded. Those who participated in the first use of the model gave a high effectiveness rating, although it was apparent that some adjustments would be helpful in order to reinforce the changes which would be required to develop the desired intimacy with God.

Subject Area

Spiritual formation--Seventh-day Adventists

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