Date of Award

8-2014

Embargo Period

8-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Ministry MMin

Faculty

Arts & Theology

School

Ministry and Theology

First Advisor

Allan Walshe

Abstract

Problem: The majority of pastors in the South New South Wales Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church work in isolated rural settings. In the past, there has been minimal connection between these pastors, with little sharing of plans, ideas, deeper concerns, or spiritual accountability. This has been compounded by their demanding roles and responsibilities. Such realities have the potential to deplete the spiritual health of individuals.

Method: This project developed, implemented, and evaluated a strategy over a 12 month period that fostered an enhanced intentional journey with God among 18 South New South Wales Conference pastors. The main focus was to nurture relationship-focused small groups where trust was developed and spiritual disciplines were encouraged. At the end of the period a questionnaire provided the key source of evaluation data.

Results: There was an 89% response rate of pastors responding to the questionnaire. Between 75% - 80% of the participants were positively impacted by the process undertaken in this project. Some 25% of ministers have developed a similar pattern to the cluster group within their own local churches.

Conclusion: Results indicated significant gains to the culture of ministry in the South New South Wales Conference. The intentional sharing of personal narratives helped to develop trust and community, and served to reduce the sense of isolation among the pastors. Through the process defined for the cluster groups, pastor's personal spirituality was enhanced.

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