Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

First Advisor

Kurt Johnson

Second Advisor

Michael Cafferky

Third Advisor

Jaspine Bilima



Between 2004 and 2015, members of the New Market Seventh-day Adventist Church independently—that is, apart from the pastoral staff—initiated only a handful of new ministries (either for in-reach or outreach) and only occasionally attempted to substantially improve existing ministries. This stunted the church’s ability to reach, baptize, and mature new members. Two professional assessments of the church indicated that this problem was caused largely by an unhealthy dependence on the pastoral staff to make the majority of substantive ministry decisions.


Self-managed ministry teams were implemented into a significant portion of the church over a period of 18 months using a two-phase process. Their effectiveness at reducing pastor-dependency was assessed at the end of the 18 months on the basis of personal interviews, group interviews, personal observations, and the use of three evaluation instruments, the largest of which was a 61-question instrument adapted from professionally-formulated instruments used in the business world and the social sciences.


Eighteen self-managed ministry teams were started during the 18-month period. Nine of these failed to survive more than a few weeks beyond their launch. However, the remaining nine (comprised of 58 people total) went on to establish significant ministry-oriented contact with more than 160 new people in the community who were not members of the New Market Church. The teams also recruited an additional 48 church members to assist in carrying out the teams’ various ministries. All of this activity was formulated and executed apart from the pastoral staff.


Self-managed ministry teams can dramatically reduce dependence on the pastor in making substantive ministry decisions, including the starting and execution of new ministries. Self-managed teams can thus be a viable means for church members to more closely approximate the ministry arrangement of the New Testament priesthood and the early Seventh-day Adventist Church. While the results from the surviving teams were excellent, further study is needed to understand why the other nine teams did not survive.

Subject Area

Church work, Clergy--Office, Pastoral theology, New Market of Seventh-day Adventist Church (New Market, Va.)

Creative Commons License

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

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