Dissertation Projects DMin

Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Douglas R. Kilcher

Second Advisor

Skip Bell

Third Advisor

John McVay

Abstract

The Topic

This dissertation analyzes the growth pattern of the Adventist church in Iceland from its inception about a hundred years ago to the present and presents an objective portrayal of the future possibilities of church growth on the island and develops a practical strategy of revitalization of the church.

The Purpose

The proposed strategy presented in this project aims at increasing the quality of life of the Icelandic Adventist churches, raising their self-identity and sense of mission, and strengthening their ability to reach the community and to grow.

The Sources

A Biblical theological rationale for this program is set forth as well as an overview of the counsel of Ellen G. White for its accomplishment. A review of literature of main sources on church growth and revitalization is presented with principal emphasis on the School of Church Growth, spearheaded by Donald McGavran and his associates, and literature on recent developments and responses of churches to the change in the philosophical environment in a postmodern era is also reviewed. The historical analysis of the growth pattern of the Adventist Church in Iceland from its inception to the present is based on church membership records, minutes of the conference executive committee, reports from conference constituency meetings and on two unpublished Seminary papers prepared on early history of Adventism in Iceland and a D. Min. dissertation on Adventist church growth in Iceland from 1950 to 1980. Further, the future model strategy for the revitalization and growth of the work among the above churches is based on that of the Natural Church Development by Christian A. Schwarz and associates who have successfully constructed a valid evaluating instrument and quality index applicable to churches using world wide survey data as a reference.

Conclusion

In view of the present less than ideally functioning local Adventist congregations in Iceland with respect to local leadership and lay evangelism, a renewal of their vision is of paramount importance. They are in need of a change of operational paradigm from that of settled pastors in churches and minimal involvement in evangelism and must alter their present perception of the impossibility of success in outreach. They need to learn from the strengths of the early program of the church to visibly identify with society and to engage in an authentic contribution to its well-being and to conduct a vigorous, church based program of evangelism and outreach. They must also shun its weaknesses which were lack of lay involvement and training and a relegating of primary care of members as well as evangelism and outreach almost solely to the pastoral staff which contributed to its stagnation and later decline.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Iceland; Church growth--Seventh-day Adventists

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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