Project Documents

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Richard L. Trott

Second Advisor

Jeanette Bryson

Third Advisor

Trevor O'Reggio

Abstract

Problem

Family relational problems are on the rise, while family spiritual development is waning in the majority of immigrant Ghanaian churches in the Southern New England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. It is apparent that the changing dynamics in migration and the acculturation process have a significant impact on family relationships and spiritual experience. While the observation may be anecdotal, it begs for systematic study and improvement. This dissertation project seeks to improve immigrant family relationships and family spiritual development through seminars.

Method

This dissertation involves the development of a six-session seminar based on the areas of reported concern: family relationships, financial management, spiritual priorities, conflict management, communication, and parenting. A survey questionnaire was developed to corroborate the observed problems prior to the seminar and to test the effect of the seminar six months after its implementation. The pre-test and post-test were administered to families attending the New England Ghanaian, Hartford Ghanaian, and Providence Ghanaian Seventh-day Adventist churches of Southern New England.

Results

The findings supported the hypothesis that there were family relational problems among the subjects, which correlate to the decline in family spiritual experience. The effectiveness of this seminar was evaluated on the basis of its ability to improve family relationships and spiritual development and also the fact that a pastor in a local church can conduct it.

Conclusion

Healthy families make healthy churches. The participants acknowledged the fact that seminars addressing critical family issues, like the seminar offered, are needed, not only for the Ghanaian churches in Southern New England, but also for all churches on a regular basis, at least biannually or annually. This seminar can be repeated among different ethnic groups and in other countries to establish its generalizability. The impact of migration on family relationships and family spiritual growth needs to be seriously assessed on a wider scale.

Subject Area

Church work with families; Church work with immigrants; Ghanaians--United States--Religious life; Immigrants--United States--New England

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