Major Completed Projects


Youth retention study. Over 1500 Adventist teenagers, randomly selected from all of NAD, were surveyed each year for ten years in an attempt to discover the factors influencing dropout from or retention in the church. A longitudinal study of this kind had never before been attempted by any church. Preparation for the study, collection of the data over ten years, and analyzing and writing on the findings was a major concern of ICM from 1982 to 1998-a full 16 years. The book reporting on this study-Why Our Teenagers Leave the Church-was published in 2000 by the Review and Herald Publishing Association.

NAD retirement study. ICM surveyed a random selection of denominational employees in NAD to determine their knowledge and attitudes toward the present and future retirement plans. This study provided a base for the retirement committee as it drafted the new Defined Contribution Plan and made adjustments in the present Defined Benefits Plan.

Survey of criteria for hiring pastors. Presidents and ministerial directors of the NAD conferences were asked to rate the criteria they used in hiring pastors-both those new to the work and those currently employed in another field. The information is helpful in designing ministerial education.

Survey on continuing education in ministry. ICM surveyed 500 pastors randomly selected from the NAD to determine preferences for short continuing education seminars. The questions included subjects, venues, and preferred time slots.

Effective pastor study. This study attempted to differentiate between what characterizes effective pastors and those who are less effective. Hundreds of pastors were surveyed as well as leading lay officers of their congregations and conference ministerial directors. Comparisons were made on education, experience, activities, time priorities, and personality among other traits. Peter Swanson of the Christian Ministry Department of the Seminary reported on the findings of the study for his Ph.D. dissertation.

M.Div. curriculum review survey. NAD and the Seminary cooperated on a joint study on theological education in the Division. This has resulted in a revised curriculum for the Master of Divinity degree. To obtain input as to the ministerial product desired by the field, ICM constructed a survey based on the work of a number of Seminary faculty study groups and on four focus groups from around the Division. The survey included 800 pastors, 800 church officers, and all union and conference presidents and ministerial directors.