Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Charles Drake

Second Advisor

Sylvan A. Lashley

Third Advisor

Stanley Patterson



Organized as a Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1899, Mt. Sinai was the first Adventist Church for people of color in Orlando. Although Mt. Sinai gave birth to several other churches in the Central Florida area, Mt. Sinai lost its ability to build a successive and collaborative leadership, giving way to conflict and dysfunction. Clashes arose between African American and Caribbean cultures related to leadership, worship, and doctrinal interpretations.


The church was asked to help identify areas of concern related to types of conflict, conflict management, and conflict resolution as identified by the project proposal. The church was asked to offer input on what outcomes they would expect to see followed by the formation of focus groups which was the method of study for this project. The focus groups were formed through a collaborative effort with the pastor and local church leaders. Six focus groups of diverse persons were selected. Nine to twelve persons were proposed to comprise the focus groups. All persons within the groups were eighteen or more years of age. Each person was a member of the Mt. Sinai Seventh-day Adventist Church who attended not less than two Sabbaths per month. They had an acceptable history of involvement in some phase of the church’s ministry and mission. Group participants were asked to have a history with Mt. Sinai of at least one full year. Factors such as age, gender, marital status, positions served, education, longevity in membership, prior membership from another Adventist church, culture and ethnicity, leadership experience, and spiritual inclinations such as conservative, progressive, or liberal were used to help create diversity in the focus group composition. The focus groups were asked to assess predetermined subjects related to the identified needs and issues of Mt. Sinai. When specific areas or concerns were identified, selected presenters and discussion facilitators were asked to share knowledge, methods and learning on how to recognize, classify, form resolution strategies and approach the implementation of such strategies for resolution and growth. These instructional presentations were made at least twice monthly for six to eight months. The focus groups met at least twice monthly. The remaining four to six months were to demonstrate and test learning associated with the instruction and facilitation presented to the focus groups. At the end of the focus period, assessments were made of what issues were identified, what instruction and learning, what methods and techniques were used to implement learning and how that learning would be achieved and measured. The focus groups proposed recommendations to the church for how it could successfully make adaptations and changes that would create leadership strategies desired by the congregation. The project was limited to Mt. Sinai Seventh-day Adventist Church and as such, is intended only to demonstrate what may or may not result from the work done in this project.


A new organizational structure designed to correlate compatible ministries into relevant leadership teams was implemented. An administrative elder was added to help coordinate the collective ministries. More engagement of leaders in planning and implementation produced collaboration and empowerment thus broadening participation and ownership. Leaders were not only given more opportunity to lead, but were also given opportunity to risk failure and thus to gain practical experience.


The project demonstrated that collaborative engagement by a broader base of informed leaders created empowerment and lessened conflict. It was further demonstrated that a wider implementation of these strategies would assure leadership growth and provide better potential for more productive successive leadership.

Subject Area

Conflict management--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Christian leadership--Florida--Orlando; Christian leadership--Seventh-day Adventists; Sinai Seventh-day Adventist Church (Orlando, Fla.)