Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

A. Barry Gane

Second Advisor

Kenneth Stout

Third Advisor

Peter Swanson



According to the 1992 Valuegenesis Study, a survey of Adventist youth in grades 7-12 showed that 77 percent wanted a deeper relationship with God, and 66 percent were interested or very interested in Bible study. Yet, an informal survey of existing materials created to lead SDA youth into a deeper relationship with Christ through Bible study, baptism into Christ, and active membership in the Adventist Church points to these existing materials as being inadequate in approach and content. Preparing preteens for baptism and active membership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church must include something more than simplifying adult Bible studies or teaching church doctrines for knowledge retention and verbal acceptance. There is a need, therefore, for Bible study materials that will more effectively meet the needs of SDA preteens in preparing them for a meaningful relationship with Christ and moves them to baptism and participation in the Adventist Church.


The Bible, Ellen G. White writings, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual were examined for a basic set of requirements for baptism and church membership. A review of contemporary literature on developmental psychology, faith-stages, and temperament types shaped an understanding of how preteens think, feel, and make decisions. An investigation of current theories related to learning types and styles, including left- and right-brain research, added to this understanding and to the construction of a profile specific to preteens’ cognitive abilities and age-related developmental tasks. Using this profile, a series of study guides to prepare preteens for baptism and church membership was developed, implemented, and evaluated.


The baptismal preparation study guides were used with preteens during a three-year period, both in the church-school classroom and in the home. The guides were continually revised as more research was reviewed and the various styles of learning among the preteens became more apparent. The finalized series of study guides for preteens are part of the dissertation’s appendix and are available to those interested in utilizing the benefits of understanding growth development, faith-stages, and basic learning styles.


Preteens are still developing physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially; they have certain cognitive limitations and abilities with respect to moving from the ‘concrete’ to the ‘abstract.’ They need to be guided through this growth process with multiple methods of instruction and active learning applications for the best possible communication of God’s Word and faith development in the church environment. Effectiveness is greatly enhanced when those who are committed to sharing the principles of the kingdom of God recognize the cognitive abilities and learning styles of preteens and have useful tools to complement their own skills.

Subject Area

Church work with preteens--Seventh-day Adventists; Preteens--Religious life; Christian education of preteens

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.


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