Dissertation Projects DMin

Date of Award


Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Bruce Bauer

Second Advisor

Ed Schmidt

Third Advisor

Richard Sylvester



The Oerlikon Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church in a suburb of Zurich, Switzerland declined from a total of 204 members in 1975 to 103 members at the end of 2008. This represents a membership loss of nearly fifty percent in thirty years. It is a hypothesis of this paper that a lack of strategic leadership at local church level is one reason for this decline. The task of this paper is to describe and evaluate a Strategic Leadership Team which came into existence in 2006 as a means of promoting growth in that local church.


The project begins by establishing a theological basis for the team structure and aims to show not only that many biblical leaders worked with teams but also that those leaders thought strategically. This is followed by a description of the process of setting up a Strategic Leadership Team and of the core activities of Strategic Leadership Teams taken from current literature. The project then describes the manner in which the Strategic Leadership Team of the Oerlikon SDA Church arose and the vision around which the Team united. It also describes its integration into the existing structures of the church. Finally, the project describes how the Team went on to form and implement its strategy and analyzes its successes and mistakes by comparing them with its vision and goals.


While the Strategic Leadership did not significantly change the growth pattern of the Oerlikon SDA congregation within the time period under review it was instrumental in promoting a mission mentality within a significant minority of the members of that church. It was also successful in introducing a new structure within the church which it is hoped will be instrumental in reversing the negative growth trend in the future.


Despite mistakes, the work of the Team shows promise for the future and has provided a model which can be of use to the leadership of other Adventist churches who wish to grow.

Subject Area

Christian leadership--Seventh-day Adventists; Church management; Oerlikon Seventh-day Adventist Church (Zurich, Switz.)

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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