Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Russell Burrill

Second Advisor

Tom Evans

Third Advisor

S. Joseph Kidder



Many English-speaking Seventh-day Adventist churches are in an attendance decline or plateau in the United States. Specifically, the investigator found that 56% of English-speaking churches within the Carolina Conference of Seventh-day Adventists were in decline when comparing the five-year attendance mean for 2008-2012 and 2013-2017 using annual average attendance data. This discovery was alarming. Simultaneously, however, the population was growing in many of these communities. More intentionality was needed to stem the tide of attendance decline. These churches were in need of revitalization, but many of their pastors lacked the natural temperament and/or support needed for revitalization to occur. -


This initiative was assessed with a clear goal in mind—to measure the impact that coaching pastors for revitalization would have on the attendance of declining churches irrespective of pastors’ personalities. Pastors were given a revitalization process to lead churches through—Steps to a Vibrant Church: A Turnaround Guide for Churches in a Plateau or Decline—as they were coached by the investigator routinely. Although the thrust of the process constituted as quantitative research, the investigator also obtained the pastors’ DiSC® and MBTI® personality profiles and compared their profiles to turnaround and non-turnaround pastors from prior research.


Since coaching pastors through a revitalization process turns around declining churches—the most challenging kind—it is expected to advance plateaued churches in growth. Along the way, the study revealed that personality is a strong predictor of the ability of pastors to turn churches around and that coaching for many neutralizes any disadvantages of temperament. Therefore, it behooves schools of theology, seminaries, and hiring entities to assess the DiSC® and MBTI® personality profiles of pastoral candidates. Additionally, it is profitable for church structures (i.e. conferences, unions, and divisions) to provide adequate revitalization leadership and coaching support to pastors leading plateaued and declining churches.

Subject Area

Clergy--Seventh-day Adventists--Training; Church membership--Seventh-day Adventists; General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. North American Division. Southern Union Conference. Carolina Conference; Carolina Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists; Church renewal--Seventh-day Adventists