Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Donald C. James

Second Advisor

James J. North, Jr.

Third Advisor

Kenley Hall



Small group ministry, known as the cell church, was thought to be the best response to the slow growth of membership in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church in South Korea. However, the attempt to develop effective cell church ministries has failed to attract new, or even current, members. Yet, there are three non-SDA churches that have had success in setting up model cell churches. The purpose of this study is to explore possible reasons for the failure, examine the successful programs, and identify those steps the Korean Adventist church could adopt in order to establish a positive paradigm for cell church ministry.


This is a comparative-descriptive study. The main task is to determine the qualities that characterize the SDA Church in South Korea as compared to three non-SDA churches with model cell church systems. One part is to understand the general ideas of the cell church system and its biblical background. The writings of Ellen G. White are also explored. Field research is utilized to examine a practical profile of cell group ministry as it is practiced by the three model cell churches. An attempt is also made to research the basic system of the Korean Seventh-day Adventist (KSDA) churches. Based on the results, the two systems (SDA and non-SDA with cell systems) are compared to find distinctive characteristics that the SDA church system could emulate. Through the comparison and biblical study, a paradigm of cell church ministry is suggested.


Cell church ministry must be a very effective tool for evangelism in the modern society of Korea. However, there are many barriers and hindrances to SDA success with cell church ministry, even though non-SDA churches had success with the system. To have success in cell church strategy, KSDA churches must innovate to build a new strategy of a cell church to fit SDA churches. The findings of this study should be applied into a new paradigm shift for SDA churches in Korea. Further studies must be continued to develop a practical plan and strategy of cell church ministry for the SDA church environment in the future.

Subject Area

Small groups--Religious aspects, Small groups--Korea (South)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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