Project Documents

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Siroj Sorajjakool

Second Advisor

Mario Ceballos

Third Advisor

Roger L. Dudley

Abstract

The Problem. Gethsemane French Seventh-day Adventist Church with a total membership of 1,200 serves a large diverse urban community in Brooklyn, New York. Church elders and deacons have little or no training on visiting the sick. No previous efforts to equip church elders and deacons for effective visitation in the healthcare setting have been attempted in order to re-affirm their mission to serve and visit those who are sick. This project aims to increase and enhance the knowledge of lay leaders to effectively visit the sick in the healthcare setting.

The Method. Three training sessions on visiting the sick in the healthcare setting were conducted and implemented at Gethsemane Church in Brooklyn, NY during the month of May 2011. The training sessions provided theological foundations, theoretical analysis and clinical skills on visiting the sick in healthcare settings. Instruments such as presession and post-session interview questionnaires, pastoral verbatim reports and evaluation forms were collected and analyzed.

The Results. Three elders, two deacons and three deaconesses were trained. All of them agreed to apply these visiting skills during their personal visitation in the healthcare setting. They all endorsed that a trained lay visitation team would be very beneficial for the Church. Eighty five percent of the participants felt very comfortable sharing visiting tips with other elders and deacons. Ninety percent of the participants wished for and felt that more time should have been spent during the training sessions on exploring the art of visiting non-Adventist patients.

Conclusions. Training lay leaders for effective visitation of Adventist and non-Christian patients in healthcare settings demonstrates positive impact on church growth. This finding suggests that implementation of this project to other local churches in Greater New York Conference would help church members to establish a friendship ministry of compassion and care to non-Adventist patients. This project, however, acknowledges directions for further research, recommendations, and reflections on equipping church leaders for effective visitation in healthcare settings.

Subject Area

Deacons--Training of, Elders (Church officers)--Training of, Visitations (Church work), Church work with the sick, Lay ministry

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