Project Documents

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Alanzo Smith

Second Advisor

Kyoshin Ahn

Third Advisor

Russell Burrill

Abstract

Problem. Research has established that Seventh-day Adventist families in the Korean community currently living in the United States of America are experiencing increasing levels of domestic violence. It has become increasingly clear that all is not well in the family unit, a core unit of any church and society. During numerous Korean ministerial association meetings, pastors have in the recent past been expressing their growing frustrations about family quarrels. Quarrels in the family have been seen to lead to violence in the homes of many congregation members. While domestic violence is well-known, yet not much talked about problem among Koreans in the United States, the Korean Seventh-day Adventist churches have given it little attention or study. Currently, there is a critical lack of public data or intervention programs to reduce such violence among the members of the SDA Church in this area. The purpose of this project was, therefore, double faceted. The study was conducted to determine the risk factors empirically associated with domestic violence, and secondly, to develop a model for a congregational-based educational program in the local church level aimed at helping risk families avoid domestic violence. This program was purposively devised as an intentional, tested, analyzed, evaluated, and replicable awareness measure of domestic violence within a society setup. It was hoped that the program developed in this study would be replicated effectively in other churches with the view of improving family life for all peoples in all Christian denominations across the globe.

Method. This study was primarily a pilot survey of domestic violence awareness among a Korean Adventist church in the USA and not a qualitative study per se. The study employed a mixed research methodology incorporating a literature review and quantitative survey research methods. To begin with, the study employed a secondary data document analysis procedure to identify the risk factors of domestic violence among church-going couples as postulated by a variety of reliable, relevant, peer-reviewed literature sources. Secondly, the study conducted a pre-test and post-test quantities research methodology to determine the level of awareness about domestic violence and abuse among the DFW Korean SDA church members. The pre-test was conducted using a pretest survey questionnaire to establish the level of awareness among sampled participants before a research treatment was administered. The treatment in this case was an awareness seminar to educate and sensitize participants about domestic violence among Adventists. Upon completion of the treatment seminar, a post-test was conducted using a post-test survey questionnaire to measure the effect that the treatment seminar had among the participants.

Results. In the first instance, the study identified several risk factors for domestic violence and abuse among Adventists. Such risk factors included troubled childhood for one of the spouses such as childhood abuse, drug and substance abuse, ungodliness, alcoholism, misinformation about biblical principles such as the dominion of a husband over his wife, emotional instability in a spouse, socially promoted myths about family relationships, and socio-cultural traditions and beliefs suppressing the right of women in families. Secondly, the study established that although the educative awareness seminar had created a level of awareness, it was clear that more education and sensitization was needed to eliminate wrongly held myths among Christians about domestic violence. The seminar was however very effective in helping the participants to understand that some of the long-held myths of family relationships lacked any grain of truth and that the myths had only served to justify abuse and domestic violence wrongly. The seminar successfully clarified what should be regarded as domestic violence, emotional or physical.

Conclusions. One of the major findings of the post-seminar survey was that 88% of the pilot sample felt that the educative awareness seminar had helped them to understand domestic violence as well as to know how to avoid and prevent domestic violence to accrue in their families. Consequently, based on the findings of the study, it was concluded that the local Korean SDA church and churches across the world were particularly in need of domestic violence education and awareness programs. It was also a conclusion of the study that domestic violence and abuse intervention programs should aim at exposing that spousal abuse exists even among Christians and that domestic violence is against God’s purpose for family. Further, this study concluded that awareness programs should ensure that congregation members know the many types and forms of spousal abuse, the real causes of spousal abuse, the negative impacts of domestic violence and abuse, as well as the possible preventive and mitigation measures that can help abuse victims. More importantly, this study concluded that it is the central role of any church and its leadership to facilitate institutional, moral and spiritual support to abuse victims, as well as to continually reveal the central message of the Bible with regards to family relationships. Domestic violence awareness programs should be regular and consistent in any church, since it has a primary responsibility in facilitating the establishment of happy, peaceful, and Godly families. Finally, this study concluded that church leaders should ideally establish communication and mitigation channels to help their congregation members respond to the threat of domestic violence by enabling dialogue, consultation, and counseling. Church leaders can help the congregation face the challenges that most of its members face in their homes towards happier and more successful families, and towards reducing spousal suffering, deaths, and divorces that are directly and indirectly related to domestic violence and abuse.

Subject Area

Church work with families--Seventh-day Adventists

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