Dissertation Projects DMin

Date of Award


Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Nancy Jean Vyhmeister

Second Advisor

Bruce L. Bauer

Third Advisor

James J. North, Jr.


Problem. Elders in Lusaka mission districts, Zambia, perform pastoral duties because there are only four paid pastors in charge of over 35 organized churches and 20 companies. This presents a problem because the elders have no training in these tasks.

Method. In this study a theological basis for lay participation in ministry was developed. A biblical study of the duties of church elders was pursued to ascertain the qualifications and duties of elders. A Seventh-day Adventist perspective on the duties and qualifications of elders was studied. A survey was conducted in Lusaka to find out from the pastors and the elders of local churches what their duties are and the areas in which they most need training. A workshop in three areas was developed in detail.

Results. The results of the theological study for lay participation showed that lay people are qualified to participate in ministry because of the indwelling Holy Spirit who gives them spiritual gifts for ministry. The New Testament suggests that elders should be blameless and have believing families. Two major duties of elders identified in the Bible are shepherding the flock of God and teaching and preaching. The results of the survey conducted identified preaching and implementing annual church activities the most important tasks. How to prepare and preach Sabbath sermons were designated as the areas in greatest need of further training. Detailed lessons for a workshop were developed in these two. In addition to these two, a detailed lesson on spiritual formation for elders was developed.

Conclusion. If elders take care of churches in the absence of pastors, they need all the training possible for them to perform their tasks satisfactorily.

Subject Area

Lay ministry--Zambia--Seventh-day Adventists

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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