Date of Award
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
The concept of Cell Church is a growing phenomenon that has become a movement within Christendom. Its philosophical foundation is biblical and supported in the writings of Ellen G. White. The future of the Adventist Church will face a growing interest in Cell Church structure and transition. An experiential understanding of the transitional process will be vital to those who will seek to embrace the Cell Church model. Seventh-day Adventists believe that all are equal in Christ, who, by one Spirit, are bonded into one fellowship with the triune God and with one another. Yet, there are many Adventists in North America who do not experience genuine Christian fellowship with one another as God designed His church to experience. Because of this, the fellowship that is experienced is somewhat dysfunctional when understood in the light of the Divine ideal.
The method employed in the project is qualitative in nature. It is designed to chronicle my own experience and that of the congregations selected through the transition process. This empirical knowledge, gathered through personal observation and the response of others who journeyed through the process, is the core reflection out of which this dissertation is written.
This project has shown, on the one hand, that there is much wisdom in the council given by others who, with the excitement that is the burden of the paradigm pioneer, have urged patience and caution and warning about moving in a direction of change without first fully understanding the process necessary to turn the Titanic in a bathtub. While, on the other hand, this project has clearly demonstrated that there is a God who loves his church as the apple of his eye and he will fulfill his promise, “I will build my church.” Although there has been lamentable failure experienced throughout the process, this very failure has resulted in the experience of authentic biblical community. The depth of caring for one another, the joy in fellowship and worship, and the growing desire to reach and disciple the lost for Christ are signs of a gradual transformation of values that are needed in the Cell Church model.
The real conclusion for this project is yet to be written. In many respects what began as the Southfield Adventist Church has just finished its wandering in the wilderness and crossed over into the Promise Land. There it has received a new name, The Living Water Seventh-day Adventist Congregation. There are still battles to be fought and giants to be chased away by God’s hornets and bees. However, there is no doubt that the faith of these members and myself is stronger than when the project first began and there is the shared understanding that all have journeyed beyond the point of no return. This congregation has experienced the remarkable Hand of God leading and guiding it into the community of the Divine. They have tasted it and have found their thirst satisfied; and yet, they thirst for more and more and more. What God has done thus far has been foundation building, and now the building of God’s church.
Cell churches, Living Water Adventist Congregation (Southfield, Mich.), Southfield Seventh-day Adventist Church (Southfield, Mich.), Andrews University -- Dissertations -- Cell churches
Hughes, William E., "The Transitional Process: From Traditional Church to a Cell-Based Church" (2008). Dissertation Projects DMin. 296.
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