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

Nancy J. Vyhmeister

Second Advisor

Kenneth Stout

Third Advisor

R. Clifford Jones



Many Seventh-day Adventist congregants do not act upon the sermons they hear. Lay preachers often preach in small, rural, Seventh-day Adventist churches. This project sought to develop a six-hour seminar to train lay preachers to preach in a way that motivates hearers to action.


A literature search was conducted on motivational principles in psychology, education, the Bible, and the writings of Ellen G. White. These principles were used to develop the Preaching by Discovery seminar, which was given to the lay preachers of three small rural Seventh-day Adventist churches in Kansas. After the six-hour weekend seminar, lay preachers delivered sermons that used seminar principles. These sermons were videotaped. Audience response was measured by a survey given the week following each sermon. The instructor and lay preachers reviewed videotapes and audience response surveys in order to evaluate and revise the seminar. Following revision, the seminar was presented in another district of small Seventh-day Adventist churches in Kansas.


Research revealed that addressing personal needs should form the basis of motivational sermons. Three principal factors affect intrinsic motivation: self-esteem, participation, and the gospel. The gospel is the most important motivating factor. Preachers can also enhance audience motivation by incorporating principles of adult learning (andragogy) and learning style theory. The 4MAT system of learning offered a potentially effective way to include these various motivational factors in the sermon. Lay preachers appreciated the seminar, but many felt there was too much new material to absorb in such a short time. Active audience response to lay sermons increased as more principles of the seminar were incorporated in the lay sermons. However, there was little improvement in audience motivation to act upon the lay sermons preached.


Motivational principles discovered seem valid, but they need more testing. The seminar may be more effective with professional clergy. Lay training needs to be more gradual. God and His gospel must remain the chief motivators to action.

Subject Area

Lay preaching; Public speaking--Religious aspects

Creative Commons License

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


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