Project Documents

Date of Award

1987

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Steven P. Vitrano

Second Advisor

Garth D. Thompson

Third Advisor

Miroslav M. Kis

Abstract

Problem

Caring Church Ministry is a strategy for church growth which was developed by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. How that strategy might be implemented in the Eugene Seventh-day Adventist Church was the basic concern of this research project. How theology and management philosophy inform a caring church membership, how to implement a program involving the church membership, and dynamics of that church which favored or inhibited church growth were questions that had to be addressed.

Method

A theological investigation and an examination of contemporary concepts of caring in management literature form a basis for the study. Two surveys establish the felt needs of the community, and their awareness and attitudes toward Seventh-day Adventists. A third survey documents the attitudes and behavior of church members which enhance or inhibit church growth. A descriptive narrative is given of the planning and administration of a one-year program for caring church ministry in the Eugene, Oregon, Seventhday Adventist church.

Results

While many caring ministries were engaged in by the church during the year's program, the number of new members added to the congregation was minimal. In the last chapter, both church growth enhancing and church-growth inhibiting characteristics of the Eugene Church are identified. The identification of those characteristics and recommendations for change are of great value to many older congregations who have reached a plateau in growth.

Conclusions

Heritage and contemporary goals of members must be respected for a church-growth climate to exist. In churches where there is a long term tenure of membership, an intentional effort must be given to include a broad spectrum of the membership in policy-making decisions that will support a positive caring church ministry.

Subject Area

Caring--Religious aspects--Christianity; Seventh-day Adventists--Oregon--Eugene

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