Effective Pastor Training

Petr Cincala (World Mission), John Matthews (Discipleship and Religious Education), Kathleen Beagles (Discipleship and Religious Education), Peter Swanson (Christian Ministry),
René Drumm (Behavioral Sciences)

Identifying Components of Effective Pastor Training:
A 10-year Review of Student Input

Drawing on archival data, we propose to identify specific components of the seminary educational experience that contribute to effective pastor training. By examining 10-years (2003 to 2013) of data from the Seminary Assessment Questionnaire, we intend to discover data-driven factors that could be replicated and thereby increase successful pastor training.

Few studies exist that explicate the connection between pastor training and subsequent pastor effectiveness and stability. One reason for this scarcity is the absence of specific indicators of initial training success and efficacy. In addition to this general research literature gap, is the want of research specifically focused on Seventh-day Adventist seminary training and subsequent pastoral success. While some very important research has been conducted in this area, the studies have not reached peer-reviewed venues and thus more work is needed to expand on these efforts. This research endeavor seeks to address this lack by gaining a clearer understanding of critical components of effective seminary training.

The purpose of the analysis is to gain knowledge essential to the current work of the seminary to propose a revision to ministerial education at the graduate level. These revisions could contribute strongly toward producing graduates who will minister with excellence in their congregations and communities.  The findings from this analysis will be of great value not only to the seminary in laying the foundation for program revisions, but also to educational institutions across the US and the world that are interested in educational best practices.

To this end, we propose to engage in an in-depth analysis of three specific areas of inquiry about the seminary educational experience. These components include: (1) the satisfaction levels of MDIV and DMIN students;  (2) the essential factors associated with faculty teaching and support as perceived by MDIV and DMIN students; and (3) the overall level of perceived effectiveness of the seminary training experience by MDIV and DMIN students.

This analysis will make a significant contribution to the research literature by: (1) identifying components of seminary training that is perceived as effective and (2) laying the foundation for future research endeavors that measure pastor effectiveness.