Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
A spirit of division at the Pine Forge Seventh-day Adventist Church is adversely affecting its ability to agree on mission and ministry focus.
Over the course of 12 months, an investigation of the source of division was conducted through pastoral observation, surveys of the adult members, and a focus group of pastors of churches on boarding academy campuses. The data from the focus group and surveys was compared to that of the Pine Forge Seventh-day Adventist church. A Bible study series on building authentic biblical community was also conducted that taught biblical principles focusing on putting aside differences and dwelling together in spiritual unity. The success of the Bible study was measured by the positive changes in the attitudes of the members during discussions of ministry focus.
It was discovered that the division over the ministry focus was promoted mostly by those who felt that they were unjustly terminated by the Academy. At one church, the surveys revealed that seven of 31 people who were asked if their departure from the institution was negative said, "Yes." Of that group of seven, six indicated that they were against the church's focusing its ministry primarily toward the academy and its students. The focus group also revealed a high level of apathy among those who had been terminated.
The study reveals that an examination of the history and demographics of the church assists the church in returning to its original student-focused ministry. There is also a need for a specific ministry for teaching biblical community principles as well as ministry care for those who suffered job loss in the community. Finally, churches that have polarizing missions need to find a ministry activity around which the members can build their ministry focus.
Church controversies--Pennsylvania; Church controversies--Seventh-day Adventists; Conflict management--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Pine Forge Seventh-day Adventist Church (Pine Forge, Pa.)
Banks, Gary I., "Building Authentic Biblical Community at the Pine Forge Seventh-day Adventist Church" (2012). Professional Dissertations DMin. 678.
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