Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Osvaldo I. Ferreira

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

Nilson Ferreira



At the São Paulo Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brazil, a preliminary survey found that 98% of engaged couples who sought out the pre-marital preparation program offered by the church would get married shortly after the preparation course. Given this trend, there was a need for a strategy to encourage engaged couples to participate in a pre-marital preparation program well in advance. A program was then developed to train pastors in pre-marital preparation in advance in the Sao Paulo Conference whose aim was to form healthy and stable marriages.


This study adopted a qualitative approach to investigate premarital preparation, using semi-structured interviews, surveys and discussions. Data were obtained from 59 district pastors, after approval by Andrews University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). Although interviews and surveys provide up-to-date information, they may not guarantee accurate answers. Data analysis was performed with SPSS. Based on the results, the “Program to Train Pastors in Pre-Marriage Preparation in advance” was developed, including awareness through seminars and training with certification in the Prepare/Enrich tool. The pastors applied their knowledge in eight supervised sessions with couples over a period of four months, resulting in the effective implementation of the program.


The study revealed that the pastors experienced a significant renewal in their ministerial practice and demonstrated a willingness to contribute to changing the culture of pre-marital preparation in the Sao Paulo Conference. With the implementation of the program, pastors were trained not only to serve engaged couples, but also to support married members in their counselling needs.


This project demonstrated that late pre-marital preparation is a trend in the Sao Paulo Conference, but it can be mitigated by the “Program to Train Pastors in Pre- Marriage Preparation in Advance” because it increases pastoral confidence through awareness, training and equipping, and also encourages brides and grooms to seek preparation in advance. The implementation of the program allows pastors to become agents of change, effectively serving couples. When we invest in prevention marriages become more functional, stable and healthy, which benefits society, the family and the church, and facilitates the pastoral mission.

Subject Area

Marriage counseling--Brazil; Marriage mentoring--Brazil; Seventh-day Adventist; Sao Paulo Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; Seventh-day Adventists--Clergy--Training of; General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; South American Division; Central Brazil Union Conference; Sao Paulo Conference

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