Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Robert M. Johnston
Arnold A. Kurtz
Since the mid 1970s the Seventh-day Adventist Church has become increasingly involved in management by objectives and has adapted and applied it with varying degrees of success in conferences and churches. Very little overt pragmatic and theological motivations have accompanied the promotion of this movement toward the use of management by objectives in the church. Leaders have simply proceeded with it on the apparent assumption that since it is an effective leadership approach in secular organizations it would be equally effective in an ecclesiastical situation . While the thesis of this study contends that management by objectives is compatible with a Seventh-day Adventist understanding o f the nature and mission of the church, it seeks to identify the pragmatic and theological foundations on which it may be allowed to stand. An investigation of the application of management by objectives in the Wisconsin Conference o f Seventh-day Adventists demonstrates how needful it is for conference leaders to build on these foundations in order to allow it to serve its purpose with integrity . The most important dynamics of management by objectives are identified as missional intentionality , responsible democracy, a wise use of authority , and accountability. These concepts are examined in the light o f Scripture and integrated with a Seventh-day Adventist understanding of church leadership. A conclusion that is reached at this point suggests that a more theologically precise modification of management by objectives would be ministry by objectives. Such a designation seems to be more in keeping with the biblical perspective of servanthood and service in Christian leadership, yet does not require that management by objectives become untrue to the intent of its pragmatic design. Regarded in this manner it is altogether compatible with the most important principles of Christian leadership that are brought to view in Scripture. As a safeguard against the development o f objectives for the sake of objectives, an attempt is also made in this study toward the development of a Seventh-day Adventist ecclesiology by means of the construction of certain models: The church as a Matrix of the New Humanity, as an Apocalyptic Movement, a Servant, and Organization. These models suggest a broad scope o f inreach and outreach ministries that ought to be re fle cte d in the objectives of the church. This approach to churchmanship provides for theology to inform our goal setting instead of the reverse. Theology is retained in its commanding place in the church. Management by objectives functions in an "afterward" and subservient capacity as an adaptable medium through which the theology of the church might be reflected in its structures. When kept in this relationship, and viewed from boll; a pragmatic and theological point of view, management by objectives and the nature and mission o f the Seventh-day Adventist Church are compatible.
Birch, Alfred Ernest, "A Pragmatic and Theological Evaluation of Management by Objectives in Seventh-day Adventist Conference Administration" (1980). Project Documents. 155.
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