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

Stanley E. Patterson

Second Advisor

Richard Sylvester

Third Advisor

Moses Taiwo



The Sharon SDA Church is a prominent faith based organization (FBO) in the Milwaukee district. Like many other churches in the community, the Sharon SDA Church continually seeks to adopt innovative strategies to assist in improving the health status of their congregants. Although the Sharon SDA Church and various faith-based organizations implement health program initiatives as a part of their mission, at the end of any program effort, there is still the need for ongoing member support to assist congregants in fully achieving the goals they set during their health initiative. This study, therefore, is an attempt to provide the Sharon SDA Church with the human resources needed to meet that challenge. The primary aim of this initiative, conducted with the support of the leaders of the Sharon SDA Church, was to train 18 lay health workers to serve the congregants as lay health workers. A secondary goal of the training program was to measure the effect of the training in improving the health habits of participants. Participants' training included (a) the merits of a vegan diet, (b) the intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains, (c) the benefits of rest and exercise, (d) the negative effects of processed foods, and (e) the merits of drinking an adequate amount of water on a daily basis.


The training method implemented was a single-case research design, initiated by a pre-survey and culminated with a post survey (these surveys provided descriptive statistics but no formal research methodology was applied which is normal for Doctor of Ministry projects. There are elements of qualitative research applied but was not supervised by a methodologist therefore should not be interpreted to be formal qualitative research). A small group of 18 members was selected for training as lay health workers to serve their church body. Training strategies included the use of videos, peer tutoring, small group discussions, lectures, and question/answer sessions. The pre-surveys and post-surveys were administered to measure the success of the training program in initiating positive lifestyle changes in trainee behavior relative to exercise, sleep/rest, water intake, meat consumption, use of plant foods, and avoidance of processed foods. Data from 11 trainees was used to measure the effect of the training program. The post-survey additionally measured trainee perception about the possible factors negating positive lifestyle changes in congregants at the end of a program initiative. Trainee conclusions of factors nullifying congregants" adoption of positive lifestyle changes will prove useful in the designing and implementation of future health initiatives.


Exercise: Initial survey data revealed that two out of 11 trainees perceived that exercise was "somewhat important" for maintaining good health. Final data results showed that 10 of the 11 trainees felt that exercise was "very important." Sleep: Initial surveys revealed that all trainees believed sleep was "important" or "very important" to maintaining good health. Summative survey data showed no change in participants’ perception. Water: Initial data revealed that participants placed the intake of water into three categories: "somewhat important," "important" or "very important." Final survey results indicated a shift in perception. Two participants stated that an adequate intake of water is "important" and nine considered it to be "very important." Plant Foods: Initial and post survey data were constant relative to the importance of plant foods and good health. Trainees believed that plant foods were 'very important' for maintain good health. Meat consumption: Trainees' initial perception was that the consumption of meat products would have a "significant" or "very significant" negative impact on human health. Post-survey data, however, revealed that one trainee believed that meat products would not have a "significant" negative impact on human health.


The results indicate that the recruiting/selection, methodology, and curriculum utilized for the training produced positive results. The success of the program was also due to the ongoing support of the pastor and church leaders. Future training studies should cater for the inclusion of a larger percentage of young trainees. Research project's topics may include the development of a lay health worker training manual, effectiveness of lay health worker training programs, and developing and implementing youth sponsored and directed community health worker training initiatives.

Subject Area

Health education; Public health personnel; Laity--Training of; Laity--Health and hygiene; Lay ministry; Volunteers--Training of; Sharon Seventh-day Adventist Church (Milwaukee, Wis.)

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.