Professional Dissertations DMin
Cross-Cultural Conflict Transformation in Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Kyo Shin Ahn
Erich W. Baumgartner
Today’s world has become more globalized than ever before. The North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists is perhaps a division with the most ethnically diverse members in the world. This diversity is especially found in the Southeastern California Conference, which has more than 70,000 members with 175 churches and companies and many different ethnic groups. The Asian ministries alone have eleven different ethnic groups. These Asian churches not only face cultural differences between the first and later generations of the church members but must also deal with generational differences. These differences create conflict that need to be addressed.
The project’s original intention was to equip Asian pastors with an awareness of cultural differences between Asians and Asian-Americans. However, the scope of the participating pastors has extended beyond Asian pastors to provide resources for all young pre-ordained pastors who are currently dealing with similar problems like the Asian pastors. The reason for this expansion is the recognition that all churches in Southeastern California Conference are becoming multi-ethnic congregations. To address this problem, seven different curriculums were developed for a presentation at a three-day retreat with the young pre-ordained pastors. Their ages ranged from 20 to early 40s. The objective was to equip them with skills that would help them address various cultural differences and the resulting conflicts found in the multi-ethnic churches. These pastors took several assessments to develop their multi-cultural conflict skills such as the Cultural Intelligence Inventory, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (2009), and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Conflict Type.
Thirty-three pre-ordained pastors participated throughout the three-day retreat. At the end of the retreat, the participants were given an assessment to compare pre- and post- workshops on the knowledge and skill sets on cultural awareness and conflict. The results of the tests of hypotheses demonstrated that statistically significant improvement was observed. The interpretation of the results included that observed differences between the pre- and post-scores are both of practical importance, and also statistically significant.
Participating pastors were better equipped to identify the tension that exists in an ethnically diverse church and to address different levels of conflicts with effectiveness. Pastors are also able to have more confidence in addressing the conflict with more competence instead of simply avoiding conflict due to lack of experience or knowledge.
Multiculturalism--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Conflict management--Cross-cultural studies; Seventh-day Adventists--California; Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Park, Jonathan J., "Cross-Cultural Conflict Transformation in Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists" (2017). Professional Dissertations DMin. 726.
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