Project Documents

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Finbar Benjamin

Second Advisor

John Nixon II

Third Advisor

Nilson Ferreira

Abstract

Problem

The history of conflict at the Lighthouse Seventh-day Adventist Church can be traced to the different attitudes and approaches toward the corporate worship experience held by the membership. One view of worship is more akin to traditional liturgy and style. One segment of the congregation, composed mainly of older members, prefers the use of hymns, emphasizes reverence in the sanctuary, and is skeptical of drums. Their posture could be considered reflective rather than overtly expressive. The other view of worship is more akin to contemporary elements and style. They prefer more contemporary genres of music, a more contemporary liturgy, and seek greater inclusivity of instruments. Their posture could be considered more expressive than reflective. These competing views created tension within the congregation, which grew into relational strain, unChristlike attitudes, and disengagement from some of the youth. The presence of unresolved conflict, along with the strain caused to relationships, continue to jeopardize the mission and integrity of the church.

Method

To address the issues of relational conflict a qualitative methods approach using focus groups sought to implement a new communion service that addressed the relational conflict within the church. This qualitative method will be used to assess the congregation’s attitudes and interactions during one of the most sacred services of the Christian church, namely the communion service. This has been chosen due to its unique ability to bring people together in commemoration of God’s salvation for mankind through Jesus Christ. With new features added to this service it is hoped that healing and reconciliation can take place, and originating issues of conflict can be addressed. It will seek to move the congregation toward relational health as outlined throughout Scripture.

Results

Over 90% of the members of the second focus group believed that the newly implemented elements of the communion service moved the congregation toward greater relational health. It also produced the following results: (a) the creation of a blended worship experience that incorporated cultural diversity and liturgical preferences. (b) Greater appreciation of cultural differences and reflecting these cultural differences in the communion service, (c) greater membership engagement in solution based dialogue, (d) increased attendance during our preparatory services before the communion service. (e) Improved attitudes toward servant leadership.

Conclusions

The communion service may provide the following: (a) A theological platform for healing conflicted churches in a similar context. (b) Encourages church leaders be proactive and intentional in leading a congregation toward biblically based solutions for conflict. (c) Contributes to the emerging field of Black pastoral theology and Black practical theology within a Seventh-day Adventist Caribbean context

Subject Area

Lighthouse Seventh-day Adventist Church (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.); Conflict management--Religious aspects; Lord's Supper; Public worship--Seventh-day Adventists

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