Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Communication, MA

First Advisor

Desrene Vernon

Second Advisor

David Sedlacek

Third Advisor

Boubakar Sanou


This thesis examines the presence and impact of performance orientation among Seventh-day Adventist pastors. It identifies multiple factors involved in perpetuating performance orientation and includes strategies to shift from performance to heart orientation in life and pastoral ministry. Using a mixed-method design, this research collected qualitative data via focus groups and quantitative data via an online survey. There was a total of eight focus groups with thirty-three participants, and the online survey gathered fifty-one responses. Focus group participants and survey respondents included both men and women from North America who were ethnically diverse. The research revealed significant concerns regarding pastoral health and well-being in the areas of God, self, family, and friends. One notable finding was the problem of poor differentiation, which is a key factor perpetuating performance orientation.

The primary strategies identified in this research through which a pastor may shift toward heart orientation fit into the following three strategy sets: The first strategy set is proactive measures and are the responsibility of the pastor. It includes a strategy for spiritual growth, leveraging the concept of the generalized other, setting healthier boundaries, positive habit formation, and dialogue with local church leaders; the second strategy set adopts organizational health as a new metric for pastoral ministry; and the third strategy set involves five recommendations for how Seventh-day Adventist Church conferences—the employing organizations for Seventh-day Adventist pastors—can foster heart orientation environments for pastors. If the principles and recommendations identified in this study are followed by pastors and conferences, the Bible makes it clear that pastors, their families, and local churches will abundantly prosper, and this research helps to corroborate this.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Clergy; Families of clergy; Performance--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Clergy--Family relationships

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