Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Ben Maxson

Second Advisor

Kathy Coneff

Third Advisor

S. Joseph Kidder



Seventh-day Adventist churches in Northern California are experiencing a trend toward larger districts and fewer pastors per capita. A decreasing pastoral presence means that local churches are more dependent on volunteers to lead out in the spiritual care and feeding of the church family. In this setting, much depends on the competence of volunteers who teach the Bible. Most of these volunteers have not had the benefit of formal training in hermeneutics, biblical languages, or effective teaching methods, yet they are called on to facilitate Scripture study that leads to inspiration, engagement, and transformation.


I proposed in this project that training in inductive Bible study skills is an accessible way of multiplying and strengthening volunteer teachers in a local church setting. This project was informed by: (a) insights from the Bible itself on healthy engagement with Scripture; (b) a review of the literature on inductive Bible study, guided inductive teaching, and related teacher-training methods; (c) my own previous experience receiving training and training others. With this foundation, I planned a training experience and offered it at the Manteca Seventh-day Adventist Church. The training consisted of about 20 hours of experiential learning. I taught participants skills, and then they immediately used these skills in guided practice, receiving group feedback to get the maximum amount of learning in a short period of time. Because participants were using what they were learning during the course sessions, I was able to observe their skill development as it happened. I also asked them to fill out a before and after survey that had them give a self-assessment of their development in several skill areas covered in the training experience.


Participants showed significant growth in the skills we worked on in the sessions, both measured observationally and as reported in their self-assessments. High levels of engagement as well as a sense of worship and appreciation of God and Scripture were also apparent among the participants, even though the sessions were largely focused on skill building. It has been more difficult to assess how effectively the participants have transferred their new skills to their teaching ministry after the training.


In a relatively short period of time, through an intensive, experiential training course, volunteer teachers can improve significantly in their ability to: (a) grasp Scripture for themselves, (b) use questions to encourage others to make their own discoveries, (c) facilitate application of those discoveries to life.

Subject Area

Manteca Seventh-day Adventist Church (Manteca, Calif.); Bible--Study and teaching--Seventh-day Adventists; Laity--Seventh-day Adventists--Training of