Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Boubakar Sanou

Second Advisor

Thewodros Asfaw

Third Advisor

Kleyton Feitosa



Since 2010, there has been a growing number of Central African refugees and immigrants resettling in Arizona. This transition adds many other challenges to the trauma some of them have already endured. Unfortunately, there is a lack of trained pastors and lay leaders to effectively minister to them. I designed this project to develop and implement an effective strategy to train and equip pastors and lay leaders to minister to Central African refugee and immigrant communities in the Ubumwe Seventh-day Adventist Church and Glendale Seventh-day Adventist Church in Phoenix, Arizona.


This project had several primary objectives: (1) to provide ways for African immigrants to grow spiritually, (2) to promote and practice effective leadership for mission-driven service, and (3) to increase awareness of the importance of communication and relationship. To understand my audience’s needs and expectations, I conducted a pre-seminar survey. Their feedback was incorporated into the development of the seminars. I found seminars to be the most effective way to explore the project's goals. The discussions sparked meaningful interactions among participants, fostering a sense of shared ownership and allowing everyone to contribute their voice. Five African pastors and ten African lay leaders volunteered to participate by joining the following activities: (a) English as a Second Language (ESL) Bible study, worship, and prayer classes, (b) communication skills seminar, (c) seminar on the biblical images of the church, (d) relationship building seminar, (e) training for small group leaders, and (f) organisation of small groups.


At the end of this project, the participants’ ability to minister to their audience in Phoenix, Arizona had improved significantly, they had built trust with each other and with their primary audience, overcome prejudices based on gender and age, developed effective communication skills, particularly in English, and built strong relationships with each other and with their primary audiences. The project provided insights that suggested that God uses anyone in His ministry regardless of age or gender, thus people should be allowed to serve as leaders in ministry regardless of their gender or age.


This project demonstrated that the interventions made a difference among the African immigrants attending the Ubumwe Seventh-day Adventist Church and Glendale Seventh-day Adventist Church. Similar programs most likely could also benefit other immigrant churches in the United States when they face similar problems and challenges.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Clergy--Training of; Clergy--Arizona--Phoenix; Church work with refugees--Seventh-day Adventists; Refugees--Africa, Central; Immigrants; Laity--Training of; Lay ministry--Arizona--Phoenix