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

Douglas Tilstra

Second Advisor

Edward Schmidt

Third Advisor

Richard Sylvester



Through a period of a few years the Erwin Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church went from a thriving congregation with members of all ages to a small group of faithful members who desired to see the return of the days when their church was thriving. As the new pastor took office a desire to change came upon the leadership, one that led them to think of ways to attract and retain families to their ranks. There was a lack in ministry that was inclusive of all the members of a household and thus unattractive to new members with young adults and children.


The process to lead the Erwin Hills Seventh-day Adventist congregation started with the formulation of vision and mission statements. The leadership took ownership of this process and in a short series of meetings they put those statements together. That was followed by a sermon series on the characteristics of a “Family Friendly” church. There was an evangelistic effort during the following year that opened the eyes of the leaders to realize that this congregation needed to find ways to reach out to the household rather than the individuals. That created enthusiasm and the leaders brainstormed on ways of reaching out to the families around the church. Then the pastor presented a four-part seminar dealing with the focus of this dissertation. This seminar was well attended and brought about immediate results.


The process of this dissertation has taken three years, from the time when the leadership started with the mission vision statements to the end of the seminars. This entire process has invigorated the congregation. Attendance has increased threefold from the time that the pastor started in this district, many lay-led initiatives have been carried through, new ministries have also been started, there is greater awareness of the role that all members play in outreach, and the leadership is willing to try new things for the purpose of soul-winning. The church building has also been improved for the purpose of connecting and or ministering better to visitors and their families. The leadership realized that this improvement was necessary in order for families to feel welcome and wanted. Also, in an effort to better connect with visitors a multi-media package has been installed for a more professional presentation to attendees.


The presentation of this dissertation has proved beneficial: it has increased the participation of leaders and members of the Erwin Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church. More often now people approach the pastor with ministry ideas and the desire of leading out with them. There is also a greater awareness of making this church one that connects with the needs of the family, and that is evangelistically minded in the way they see the ministry possibilities for the families in the community. This process could be used as a sample for other churches to awaken to ministry opportunities for families within the community where their church is located, for evangelism that is mindful of the households of those in attendance, thus more effective in soul winning.

Subject Area

Church work with families--Seventh-day Adventists; Church work with families--North Carolina; Erwin Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church (Asheville, N.C.)

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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