Project Documents

Date of Award

1992

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

C. Mervyn Maxwell

Second Advisor

Norman Miles

Third Advisor

Ben Schoun

Abstract

Since the early 1950s immigrants have been arriving in Britain in large numbers from the Caribbean and from Asia. Some immigrants from the West Indies have joined Seventh-day Adventist churches. Currently, statistics indicate that although Seventh-day Adventist membership has increased in Britain since 1950, the Black percentage has risen considerably while the White percentage has dramatically declined. This study was undertaken in the hope that by examining the methods of four successful non-Seventh-day Adventist pastors in England and comparing their approaches with instructions found in Scripture and the writings of Ellen G. White we could find pointers which could help Seventh-day Adventist pastors in Britain enlarge their indigenous intake.

Four non-Seventh-day Adventist churches, two in Cambridge and two in London, which experienced growth in the late 1970s and early 1980s were selected. It was my plan to interview the pastors concerned and to hand surveys to forty-eight people, twelve in each church, in an endeavor to find what methods, if any, they had found productive.

Chapter 1 deals with the theory of church growth. Subjects are covered which church growth experts say are relevant to a healthy, growing church: strategy, leadership, goal-setting, prayer, the Homogeneous Unit Principle, church planting, house groups, and preaching— although preaching is hardly ever mentioned in church growth literature. In chapter 2 I provide the answers to the questions I asked the four pastors. Identical questions were presented about growth strategies and goal-setting, sermon preparation, prayer life, and special ministries. I also raised questions about small groups and about the pastors' publications. Chapter 3 focuses on selected New Testament and Ellen G. White criteria for evaluating ministerial methods: preaching and teaching, leadership, strategy and organization, prayer, ministering to the needy, house meetings, house to house labor, and the pastor's personal qualifications. Chapter 4 evaluates the four pastors against the criteria listed in chapter 3.

The concluding chapter offers suggestions for Seventh-day Adventist pastors in Britain today, mingled with personal reflections. Generally speaking, none of the selected pastors set out to attain growth in their churches by means of church growth strategy. They desired to be led by God and believed that preaching and worship style largely explain their congregational growth. One pastor feels that house groups provided the major contribution to his church's growth, but the survey of his members revealed that even they believed spiritual emphasis and worship patterns were more important than house groups.

Subject Area

Church growth--Great Britain--Seventh-day Adventists

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