Erich Baumgartner (Leadership), Stan Patterson (Church Ministry)
Global Leadership Development Needs in the Seventh-day Adventist Church
The focus of this study is the leadership development challenges of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in view its diverging growth rates worldwide. Since 1970 the church’s membership has grown from 2 to 18 million, while its institutional capacity to develop leaders has been slowing. This has resulted in an exploding average pastor-member ratio from 126 members in 1970 to almost 700 members per pastor worldwide. In some areas pastors care for thousands of members with limited resources and training. As a result the church has seen its worldwide loss rate increase by almost 50% (2000-2009).
At the moment no study exists that has adequately evaluated the leadership development needs of the church in light of its growth dynamics. For this reason the proposed study will seek systematic answers to the following questions: What are the needs for leadership development in the global Seventh-day Adventist church and how do they differ in growing and non-growing fields? How is the church responding to these needs through formal, non-formal and informal training programs? How successful have these responses been? What can we learn from the most effective leadership development efforts in both growing and non-growing areas in the global church to address the continued growth of the church?
The results of the study will allow strategic planners in administrative offices at all levels and in educational institutions such as Andrews University to identify areas of leadership development that need to be addressed to systematically support the growth of the church.