Project Documents

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Jeffrey O. Brown

Second Advisor

Hyveth Williams

Third Advisor

Alfonso Valenzuela

Abstract

Problem

Similar to many other places in the world, the divorce rate in Ghana is on the rise. Certain media reports in Ghana have attributed the spate of marriage breakdown to a lack of marriage preparation. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Central Ghana Conference is confronted by a plethora of marital problems. Many couples schedule their wedding dates and then simply inform their pastors, whereas others adopt the traditional or customary marriage without telling the church. The short notice couples give to pastors and the church makes it difficult for adequate marriage preparation to take place. No official denominational guidelines are available for pastors in helping premarital couples. The lack of proper marriage preparation programs has resulted in best practices not being consistently followed by pastors who counsel premarital couples.

Method

Eight ordained pastors in the South Central Ghana Conference were selected for interviews in February 2014. The objective was to assess their views on marriage preparation, their competence levels, and the resources they use in carrying out the programs. Based on the findings, marriage preparation was designed for implementation by three pastors in the South Central Ghana Conference. The implemented program was evaluated to determine its impact on pastors and couples, including its weaknesses and overall success.

Results

The study found that all the pastors interviewed recognized the importance of premarital counseling in the church. However, no documented or written marriage preparation program was used by pastors in the South Central Ghana Conference. The conference does not have a standard or plan regarding the number of times or sessions for premarital counseling. The study also found that most pastors who conduct premarital counseling do not use inventories or assessment tools, neither do they have a comprehensive follow-up plan after their premarital counseling. The post-implementation review showed the need for a marriage-preparation resource guide to equip pastors in the conference. The resources boosted their confidence level and the preparedness to run such programs to help premarital couples in the conference.

Conclusions

Based on the responses from pastors selected for interviews prior to the designed program and after the implementation of the program, a proactive and intentional marriage preparation program has a positive impact on pastors and premarital couples. Therefore, promoting and running effective marriage-preparation programs has merit and is recommended.

Subject Area

General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. West-Central Africa Division. Northern Ghana Union Conference. South Central Ghana Conference, South Central Ghana Confenece of Seventh-day Adventists, Marriage--Ghana, Divorce--Ghana, Marital conflict--Ghana, Marriage counseling--Ghana

Share

COinS