Project Documents

Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Skip Bell

Second Advisor

Erich W. Baumgartner

Third Advisor

S. Joseph Kidder

Abstract

Very quickly we are approaching the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church is growing as never before. However, the SDA Church in the former and present-day Yugoslavia grew rapidly in some periods, and declined in others. What factors helped the SDA church to grow? How can the power of the Holy Spirit be combined with a good strategic planning process to fulfill the Great Commission? This vital issue needs to be acknowledged and observed with practical steps taken to find causes and solutions.

This dissertation examines the development of a master-planning strategy for church growth in the Serbian Seventh-day Adventist Church, in view of the new contextual situation after the civil war of 1991. The strategy identifies factors of church growth, through research and experience, and integrates them to be practically effective in implementing the Gospel Commission.

To achieve these objectives, several disciplines were applied as practical tools to integrate church growth theory, theology, and practice for the suggested model in Serbia: Leadership and organizational theory (Chapter 2), Biblical theology (Chapter 3), Church growth theory (Chapter 4), general, religious, and Adventist history (Chapter 5), sociocultural characteristics of Serbia (Chapter 5), a statistical survey (Chapter 6), contextual and institutional factors (Chapter 6), and research by questionnaires and interviews (Chapter 7).

This model provides an interpretive framework for growing healthy churches through natural church development. The Master Planning Model (MPM) for church growth has seven phases representing fifteen action steps. The “key” to strategic planning for growing churches and making more disciples is found in the harmonious interplay of all of them within the master-planning cycle. The model is applied to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Serbia. Church growth data were collected and analyzed in field research from Seventh-day Adventist sources (Chapter 6), by correspondence, by questionnaires sent to 134 pastors (for the period between 1981-1995), and through interviews with pastors and leaders in the former Yugoslavia and Serbia (Chapter 6). When the findings of the field research were examined (Chapter 6 and 7), the factors influencing church growth and decline in the SDA Church in the former and current Yugoslavia became evident. These are addressed in chapter 9 for church leaders who are making decisions for churches.

The results of the study show that church growth in Yugoslavia, and especially in Serbia, is very complex. While the field research focused on the Adventist church in Yugoslavia, the master-planning model itself is broad enough to be used in other cultural and denominational contexts.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Serbia; Church growth--Serbia--Seventh-day Adventists

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/455

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