Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Walt Williams

Second Advisor

Rodney Palmer

Third Advisor

Brad Cauley



Based on members' feedback, there were concerns of judgmental and critical attitudes at the Norwalk Seventh-day Adventist Church. A study in 2009, “Christ’s Mission in Norwalk” by Monte Sahlin, Senior Consultant for Center for Creative Ministry, indicated a need for personal involvement in the Norwalk church in meeting the challenges of one another and the community. Yet, the judgmental and critical atmosphere was limiting the lay involvement. Likewise, the Natural Church Development (NCD) survey confirmed in 2014 that Loving Relationships was a minimum factor for the Norwalk Church. The survey showed that the community was not relying on friends nor sharing personal problems.


The task of this project was to study the Pauline missionary journeys described in the book of Acts and see how authenticity and interdependence were cultivated. The literature review examined seminal and contemporary scholars on what Life Coaching is, and how it could be utilized in a local church setting to improve Loving Relationships. A sermon series was developed to create awareness of the importance of authenticity and interdependence in enhancing Loving Relationships. A sign-up was set up after the sermon series to participate in a six-week program. The participants would engage with video demonstrations and interactive discussion, followed by coaching in triad groups. An NCD survey was conducted at the end of the six-week program to assess Loving Relationships. The NCD survey was evaluated for changes across the NCD Survey and in Loving Relationships in response to the coaching training. --


Nineteen participants started the implementation of the project with a weekend workshop. A week later, the five-week follow-up sessions began with 12 participants who completed the implementation process. The participants that attended the workshop felt the information was valuable. Seven participants were not able to continue. Nine out of the 12 that followed through the weekend workshop and five-week follow-up sessions found more meaningful relationships with their peer coach(es) that helped them move forward with the goals that God put on their hearts. Peer coaching did not make a paradigm shift in the church. However, it did help empower people to recognize the value of influential relationships, more than helping people to be more authentic.


The most considerable improvement was in sharing one’s spiritual journey, which was the strength of the Peer Coaching seminar. Bitterness and conflict were issues discovered in analyzing the NCD 2014, 2016, 2019. Even so, the five NCD questions for interdependence, when averaged, saw a six-point increase from 2014 to 2019. Furthermore, the seven NCD questions averaged for authenticity showed a decline from 2014 to 2019 of 1.28 points (See Appendix E). Consistent investment was needed to build an environment trusting in God to minister in influential relationships and an atmosphere of vulnerability to open the door of one's truest identity in Christ, thus fulfilling His purpose in their lives.

Subject Area

Norwalk Seventh-day Adventist Church (Norwalk, Calif.); Pastoral care; Pastoral theology; Interpersonal relations; Church management; Church controversies; Discipling (Christianity)