Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award

2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Tom L. Evans

Second Advisor

Allan Chichester

Third Advisor

S. Joseph Kidder

Abstract

Problem

An assessment of the vitality of the Seventh-day Adventist churches in the Ontario Conference revealed a lack of multiplying congregations. This finding raised serious concerns. At the same time, the Ontario population net growth continued to increase at a higher rate than the Conference average net growth. There is a need for an intentional approach in identifying barriers for church growth, developing a strategy to remove these barriers, and initiating a congregational culture change that would unleash a God-given multiplication potential in congregations. In order to facilitate the congregational culture-change process, coaching in ministry would increase the chances for an effective intervention.

Method

This intervention focused on the discovery process that would identify the obstacles to growth by employing the measuring instrument and emphasizing the qualitative factors of healthy congregations. The resulting analysis would inform the development of the strategy focused on eliminating the identified barriers. Furthermore, the analysis would show the collaboration of the intervention with the congregational potential to multiply. The pastors would receive support from a peer coach with experience in utilizing the measuring instrument throughout the intervention.

Results

This project determined that intervention with an emphasis on addressing the congregational minimum growth factor would increase congregational health and release the God-given natural development potential which leads to multiplication. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, two congregations that participated in the project successfully completed the intervention. The measurement instrument effectively discovered the obstacles to growth. The pastors, assisted by the coach, effectively led the strategic team to develop an action plan to eliminate the minimum factors. After six months, the analysis of the assessment instrument affirmed the projected outcome. Both participating congregations registered an increase in the average health score and showed improved scores in the minimum factor areas, in particular. Moreover, the multiplication theme average score proportionally increased as well.

Conclusions

The intervention revealed that the process leading to congregational culture change is complex and requires a willing congregation and a pastor who is a change agent. The critical element in the process is dependence on God’s leading through prayers, commitment to biblical principles, and faithfulness to the Great Commission. Therefore, Conferences worldwide should develop a comprehensive strategy in assessing congregational health by utilizing qualitative measuring instruments such as the Natural Church Development (NCD) survey. In addition, a Conference-wide coaching system should be established that provides peer-coaching support to pastors engaged in the congregational culture-change processes.

Subject Area

Church development, New--Canada--Ontario; Ontario Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists; General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. North American Division. Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada. Ontario Conference; Church growth--Canada--Ontario--Seventh-day Adventists; Seventh-day Adventists--Canada--Ontario

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