Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
James J. North
The purpose of this dissertation was to create, implement, and evaluate a Mentoring for Spirituality program for deployed sailors and marines on board the amphibious warship USS Oak Hill. This program endeavors to help military personnel grow in their relationship with God and, thus, help them overcome many of the emotional and behavioral problems they experience being away from home.
The spiritual lives of many United States Navy/Marine personnel under my chaplaincy direction are affected by long periods away from home. While away from their families and friends, many young sailors and marines often run the risk of being influenced by unscrupulous buddies that may lead to military discipline or poor long- range life choices like drinking, adultery, sexual immorality, divorce, gambling, etc. Also, they also are at risk of experiencing a wide variety of behavioral and emotional problems—depression, loneliness, anxiety, committing rape or physical violence towards a shipmate. These military personnel did not have a meaningful avenue to assist them in coping with these challenges.
The project examined the biblical principles of spiritual mentoring and how it positively influenced some of the Bible’s main characters. The project also evaluated some of our nation’s leading thinkers on mentoring and how their current views on mentoring added value to our seminar. The Mentoring for Spirituality program has two components. First, the participants and I met four times a week as a group to study a spiritual lesson. Second, I scheduled a two-week rotation plan to personally meet with each individual for mentoring purposes. Studying the nightly lessons together provided the common ground by which my relationship with the proteges would deepen as we met one on one.
This mentoring program personally blessed me because of the time I spent studying God’s Word and imparting the rich lesson material that paved the way for God to penetrate the minds of the proteges. The long-lasting relationships that I have with many of the proteges will always give me great joy. The project outcome surpassed my expectations and its success gave me renewed energy and satisfaction. Spiritual mentoring will continue to be a priority in my ministry and has reinforced how I interpret the intricacies of spiritual growth and sanctification. As an outcome of this seminar, most of the proteges adopted a more purposeful Christian lifestyle that included a strong commitment to daily studying and applying God’s Word, a willingness to become active in a local church body, meditation and reflection on positive and holy things, and, finally, a plan of action to avert or discourage temptations. Even though evangelism was not the project’s planned purpose, I was pleasantly surprised that twelve of the thirty-two proteges decided to become Seventh-day Adventists.
I am hoping that the Navy chaplains in the Fleet or local church pastors can use the principles and methodology of this mentoring project. Since my approach to spirituality is patently a Seventh-day Adventist view of sanctification, the curriculum content of this project needs to be adapted so as to reflect the specific faith background of other would-be mentors. This will help them meet the needs of general Protestant and Catholic participants.
Mentoring--Religious aspects--Christianity; Military chaplains--Seventh-day Adventists; United States|xArmed Forces--Religious life
Rodriguez, Santiago, "The Creation and Implementation of A Spiritual Mentoring Program for Deployed Sailors and Marines on Board the USS Oak Hill" (2004). Dissertation Projects. 569.
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