Dissertation Projects

Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

James J. North, Jr.

Second Advisor

Miroslav M. Kis

Third Advisor

Roger L. Dudley

Abstract

Problem

The Hamlet Seventh-day Adventist Church, located near Amelia, Ohio, experienced a period of significant congregational decline during the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Several contributing factors converged during this time frame to cause much discouragement and burn-out among the church members. Many left to join other congregations, or simply dropped out completely. Attendance dropped from the 120-150 range to an average of 35-40 at worship each Sabbath. By 1992 there was a serious leadership vacuum, coupled with a high level of mistrust, misunderstanding, and factional splintering permeating the church.

Method

In May 1992, I arrived as senior pastor for the struggling church. In April 1995, after several years of following the traditional nominat- ing committee method of staffing church offices, I introduced the concept of a standing personnel committee to the church at a church business meeting. The authorization by the church to proceed in the new direction resulted in the emergence of the Teamnet Ministries System, a paradigm for the empowerment of every member to active ministry.

Results

A survey conducted approximately two-and-a-half years following the initial introduction of the system to the Hamlet church revealed that the system was a significant factor in the ministries of those members actually involved in ministry, but that it had little impact on those who remained inactive. Satisfaction levels were increased for the people who were working as team leaders or team members. Some who remained inactive apparently were not involved because they were confused about the Teamnet Ministries System or did not understand it.

Conclusions

The experiment met with some success, but encountered some significant resistance among the cultural gatekeepers of the congregation, due in part to the natural homeostasis inherent to any system, and also due partly to insufficient education and communication from proponents of the new Teamnet Ministries System.

Subject Area

Lay ministry--Seventh-day Adventists; Seventh-day Adventists--Church officers; Hamlet Seventh-day Adventist Church (Amelia, Ohio)

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/565

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