Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Kenley Hall

Second Advisor

Keith Burton

Third Advisor

Lester Merklin



Southern Alabama's Seventh-day Adventist churches are mostly segregated across ethnic lines. Furthermore, most of the church pastors are of the same ethnic group as their members. One of the main reasons for the continued fears among laity, pastors, and conference administrators towards pastoral leadership from other cultures stems from the widespread idea that cross-cultural pastors cannot present their sermons in the cultural preaching style and with the content desired by the congregation.


A project was designed and instituted in Dothan, AL between the two Seventh-day Adventist churches in the city. The Dothan First Seventh-day Adventist Church is a part of Gulf States Conference, while the Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church is part of the South Central Conference. Over a period of three months the project was implemented in which a pastor and (an elder in the absence of a pastor at the other church) switched pulpits once each month over the total period of three months. There were also survey participants from each church that gave their initial answers about cross-cultural preachers, and then their final evaluations after the pulpit switches had been completed. The data from their surveys was then evaluated and a mental sketch was developed of how effective cross-cultural preachers can actually be.


The project revealed that there was a varied opinion on the effectiveness of cross-cultural ministers in preaching to congregation with a majority population that was different from their own culture. However, the majority of survey participants believed that the cross-cultural ministers were quite capable of preaching to cultures different from their own. In addition, it was suggested by at least one that the most important part of preaching was not so much culture but simply preaching the Bible, and as long as the Bible was preached diligently and truthfully than everything else was not as important.


Based on the responses of some of the survey participants, this project was effective though it could have been longer and more in depth. From some of their statements, the project had a positive spiritual impact on at least some of the listeners, and there is a great need for this area of ministry to be probed, researched, and studied more deeply. As the demographics of America continue to change, perhaps this is something that will have to be faced and considered more frequently to effectively reach our ever-changing populous.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventist preaching--Alabama; Seventh-day Adventists--Alabama--Clergy; Preaching--Cross-cultural studies