Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Jon Dybdahl

Second Advisor

Doug Kilcher

Third Advisor

Ricardo Norton


The Problem

A decision had been made to establish a Seventh-day Adventist Community Services Center in Kayenta, Arizona, on the Navajo Indian Reservation, in connection with a church-planting initiative. Those in charge lacked experience and training in community services ministries and faced obstacles to implementation of the plan.

The Method

A combination of research and action was used to move the envisioned Community Services Center toward reality. Study of the Bible and related literature led to formulation of Scripture-based methodological principles. Demographic research and community needs assessment procedures were utilized to gain an understanding of the Kayenta community and especially of its social needs. In cooperation with the local Native American Seventh- day Adventist congregations and also with regional church organizations and officials, efforts were made to obtain land, erect a building, select personnel, and implement community service ministries in Kayenta.

The Results

Land was obtained and a Community Services Center building was erected in Kayenta. Community needs were ascertained and potential Adventist service projects were enumerated. A full-time Center director was employed and a budget for the first year of operation was developed and partially implemented. Methodological and theological uncertainties were clarified. External factors, including disagreements among the participating organizations regarding methodological and theological principles, hindered full operational implementation of the envisioned Center. At the project’s conclusion, Adventists were not yet providing substantial community service ministries in Kayenta.


For Adventist Community Services ministries to Native Americans to be effective in the context of God’s revealed purposes for the well-being of humankind, they must be conducted wholistically and in close connection with the church body. Service providers must deeply understand the needs, problems, and life situation of the people served. Spiritually based criteria need to be used when selecting project personnel, and the local Native church should be involved in planning, supporting, and operating the Center. Finances for Native American Christian humanitarian projects are not an insurmountable obstacle, with a variety of funding sources available.

Subject Area

Church work with Navajo Indians--Seventh-day Adventists; Seventh-day Adventists--Charities; Community Services Center (Kayenta, Arizona)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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