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The goal of this doctoral project is to develop a missional support system for the assessment, coaching, training, and sending out of church-planting teams in the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Composed of great ethnic, economic, cultural, and religious diversity, there are nearly 19-million people in the state of Florida (2010 census), yet only 15.1 percent of the population is part of a Christian church on any given weekend. The membership-to-population ratio in the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has flat-lined for years representing a mere .003 percent of the state. Given rapid population growth and the multiple communities and people groups not being reached through existing efforts, there is an urgent need to develop this support system.

This doctoral project contains three major sections. Part One explores the target area and the ministry context for Florida Conference church planting. After an overview of the diversity across the major metropolitan areas, a survey of historical trends and approaches to conference church planting is surveyed. Special interest is given to shifting cultural dynamics, in the ministry context area as well as the ethnic, economic, and linguistic makeup of new churches in the Florida Conference. Current resources, training, and decision-making structures for the empowerment of new church development are also taken into consideration.

Part Two develops the biblical and missiological foundations for new church development. First, is a chapter on relevant authors’ reflections regarding mission and the Church. Next is a look at the theological heritage and history of Seventh-day Adventism with special emphasis on the unique strengths and challenges this brings to the task of new church development. Finally, a biblical frame for discipleship and the principles of effectively supporting new churches are developed. From this biblical and theological foundation, a theology of church planting developed at the intersection of Adventist theology, relevant biblical passages, and in conversation with other missiological resources and ecclesiological models is synthesized.

Part Three proposes a strategic vision for a church-planting support system that flows from the biblical and missiological foundation developed in Part Two and the contextual realities explored in Part One. A specific process for implementation is detailed covering strategy, goals, leadership, and resources for the assessment, coaching, training, and sending out of church-planting teams in the Florida Conference. Also included are suggestions for developing contextualized church-planting support systems within the administrative units of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Content Reader: H. Stanley Wood, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Wood, H. Stanley

Document Type





General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists; Florida Conference; Missional church movement; Church development, New; Missions


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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