Project Documents

Date of Award

1999

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Clifford Jones

Second Advisor

Bruce Wrenn

Third Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Abstract

Problem.

In many Christian circles, marketing management is viewed as irrelevant and irreligious because of the misconceptions that exist among Christians regarding this business discipline. There is, therefore, a very urgent need to clear up these misunderstandings and to create an awareness among Christians as to how marketing principles may be applied to the work of Christian mission and ministry, without violating the spiritual platform on which they stand. The purpose of this project, therefore, is to show how religious institutions can maximize their effectiveness by incorporating market-oriented thinking, planning, and action into their task of fulfilling the mission of God in the world. In order to accomplish this, the project focuses on the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the United States Virgin Islands—showing how a responsible application of the principles of marketing management can assist the church in conducting a more holistic, viable, and successful mission outreach to the people of that region.

Method

This project approaches the topic of mission from a marketing perspective. The study begins by showing how some current trends contribute to the ongoing discussion about the applicability of marketing tools to the operation of nonprofit organizations and religion, in particular. After discussing some of the major criticisms leveled against marketing by religious thinkers and organizations, the section ends by showing how marketing relates to mission and ministry. It does so by portraying biblical images of a few core marketing concepts, supported by the writings of Ellen G. White. Next, a brief survey of Adventist mission in the Virgin Island is presented, and the implications that Adventists’ self-understanding and claim to "remnancy" have for the present and future mission of the church in the region are explored. Then, the challenge of adjusting the typical Seventh-day Adventist mind-set in the Virgin Islands is investigated, and a biblical basis for shifting Adventist mission paradigm to a more strategic, need-centered orientation is outlined. Growing out of this, I show how the strategic marketing planning process can assist the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Virgin Islands in coordinating its operations and activities to effectively accomplish its mission objective.

Conclusion

Even though marketing can be a very useful tool for mission and ministry, it must not be handled as a panacea to all the challenges facing the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Virgin Islands. Its application, in most cases, will be limited to organizational efficiency and effectiveness, creating points of contact for mission and ministry, and developing a mental framework that focuses on people and their needs—i.e., physical, spiritual, social, and otherwise.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventsts--Virgin Islands; Church public relations; Advertising--Churches

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