Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Victor Jaeger

Second Advisor

Erick Frecking

Third Advisor

Joseph Kidder



Low levels of commitment have detrimentally affected many aspects of the Village Church's health and vitality. The present study was developed to see to what degree the leaders of the Village Church had imbibed consumer constructs of identity and ministry and to what degree those constructs could be changed when presented with a biblical construct of identity and ministry.


A week of spiritual emphasis entitled "Built on the Rock" examined the principles of the church growth movement as manifest in the megachurch movement. By contrast, the scriptural paradigm of the church as a family was presented as a high-cost discipleship alternative to the current consumer mindset of the megachurches. Participants were surveyed pre-and post-intervention. Focus groups were also conducted before and after the week of prayer. The study involved twenty-one leaders from the staff and board of the Village Church. -- Results. The participants' understanding of the theological and philosophical underpinnings of the church growth movement were greatly enlarged. On a 10-point scale the aggregate score of the group moved 1-2 points from the methods and teaching of the church growth movement towards the biblical high-cost discipleship model.


Most Seventh-day Adventist leaders genuinely desire to reach the lost, but do not understand the incompatibility of the theology or practices of the church growth movement. When explained and contrasted with the biblical model of the church as a family, they recognized the limits of a consumer approach to evangelism and ministry and embraced the biblical call to a life of full surrender and discipleship.

Subject Area

Mission of the church; Village Seventh-day Adventist Church (Berrien Springs, Mich.); Church growth; Discipling (Christianity)