Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Larry L. Lichtenwalter
The Adventist church, along with most religious organizations today, struggles to develop a multigenerational faith vision and practice among its believers. Fewer Adventist youth and young adults appear to have an Adventist worldview or share the churches core values. They are often absent from general church life and worship. The research that has led to this project addresses men/fathers as being a primary solution in faith transmission and spiritual nurture of the next generation. Yet, the current vacancy of fathers in the homes and churches has created some of the greatest social needs in American society today. Literature is replete with information regarding the absence of men/fathers. However, literature is sparse on why men are absent from their roles both in the church and in the home. This project seeks to address the issues of why youth and young adults are leaving our churches by focusing on the spiritual role of men/fathers in the transmission of faith, core values and spiritual experience to their families.
The task of this project is to develop a strategy to inspire, train, and empower men/fathers in Kitsap County, Washington to be the spiritual leaders in their home and church. The initial method employed was programmatic in nature, but it was soon abandoned in favor of a focused one-on-one approach. This second more personal approach proved more effective in inspiriting and nurturing men/fathers as a key leadership influence in the transmission of faith, core values, and spiritual experience to his family.
The initial methodology utilizing programming as a key component in developing men/fathers as spiritual leaders has proven significantly less productive than did the one-on-one mentor/coaching that this project shifted towards. As a result, many men/fathers who experienced only the initial programming stage of this project missed altogether the individualized attention that has proven most effective in both inspiring and nurturing men as a spiritual leader in their homes. Each of the men/fathers who kept engaged long enough to experience the one-on-one focus, demonstrated improvement in both their personal and family’s spiritual growth.
This project led to four conclusions: a) a programmatic approach to nurturing or men/fathers proves ineffective; b) a personal one-on-one method evidences significant personal faith development and spiritual leadership vision on the part of men/fathers; c) Men/fathers need both factual information and continued one-on-one personal inspiration to make a life altering decision; d) all men/fathers need a mentor/coach to succeed in a spiritual transformation. There might be a few exceptions, however there is still an external driving factor in their lives (i.e. money, wife, friend, passion for something, learned discipline, etc.). The topic of developing men/fathers as positive spiritual leaders is not popular in the American culture. There is a general diminishing of the male role and identity as well as a negative portrayal of weak men/fathers and the problems they create especially in the home. Why? Why are men disinclined to be a spiritual leader in the home? Is there a unique natural tendency or personality in men to facilitate this condition? There are many ideas and timelines as to when man/fatherhood began to decline. Yet, few authors both religious and secular indicate a reason for the decline of men/fathers.
Father and child--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Fathers--Religious life; Seventh-day Adventists--Washington (State)--Kitsap County; Washington Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Dodge, Tobin K. R., "Developing Men/Fathers As Spiritual Leaders In The Home In Kitsap County, Washington" (2015). Project Documents. 376.