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Testimonials - Ministerial Directors

August 27, 2013


To Whom It May Concern,


Pastor Melvin Santos is an outstanding pastor in our field (Nashville First Church) who has a passion for developing a Master Plan of Discipleship in his local church as well as assisting other pastors/churches to do the same in our Kentucky-Tennessee Conference and beyond. 


Because of Melvin’s consistent implementation of Discipleship principles in his local church, the Nashville First Church has experienced consistent growth with one of the highest baptismal rates in the conference.  Members are not only plugged into a plethora of ongoing ministries but are also engaged in lifestyle evangelism.  In the spring of 2011, Brian McMahon conducted an evangelistic series at the Nashville First Church.  Ninety guests came out opening night.  Approximately 40% of these were from handbills, the other 60% were from the members’ network of friends.  There were 22 baptisms at the end of the series.  This speaks well of the discipleship model that Melvin has instilled in his church.   


Melvin serves on our Conference Evangelism Advisory Team (E.A.T.) which makes strategic growth plans for our conference.  Because of the success of Melvin’s Master Plan of Discipleship in his church, we asked if he would mentor 10 pilot churches in implementing the Discipleship Plan.  He conducted a two-day intensive discipleship course in February 2010 for 10 pastors and followed this up with monthly conference calls.  He shows pastors how to establish a discipleship structure in their local church consisting of (1) Leaderships Teams in order to mobilize elders and leaders; (2) Home Bible Fellowship Groups where “real” training, ministry and growth takes place; and (3) Church Teams where elders exercise the 6 P’s of practical ministry to their parish.  Melvin also conducted a Master Plan of Discipleship workshop for our pastors at the August 2010 Ministers’ Meeting which was enthusiastically received.  Because of the success of this pilot program, the E.A.T. team has set a faith goal of implementing the Master Plan of Discipleship in 60 percent of our districts by 2017. 


Throughout this discipleship process, Melvin has completed a Doctor of Ministry degree from Andrews University with a dissertation on the Master Plan of Discipleship.  He is also in the process of producing discipleship materials for leaders and participants.  There is a great need for this kind of discipleship resource for the Adventist Church.  Melvin’s Prayer Journaling tool has been a huge blessing to me personally, and I’ve seen amazing answers to prayer since adopting this practice 2 ½ years ago. 


Melvin’s Master Plan of Discipleship has been a tremendous blessing to the pastors and churches in our conference and I would highly recommend his Discipleship Plan for other conferences as well.


David Hartman


Ministerial Director                                                                                                                                  

Kentucky-Tennessee Conference                                                                                                       


(Note: Dr. David Hartman is now Professor of Religion at Southern Adventist University)

Dear Fellow Ministers and Ministerial Directors,

We just completed the summer retreat with our pastors.  Dr. Melvin and Juliet Santos had been invited to lead the instructional facet of the gathering.  Some of our pastors had attended his seminar at the Southern Union Ministerium on the subject of ‘Discipleship’ and recommended it to our Ministerial Advisory.  We decided it was worthy of sharing with our entire ministerial team.

Melvin is currently serving as Pastor of the Nashville (TN) First Church and, just recently, NAD Ministerial Liaison in providing training and resources for pastors in discipleship.   As a team, Melvin and Juliet presented his just-published material, developed not from a theoretical study, but born out of personal frustration, pastoral experience and a heart longing to see God’s kingdom advance as He said it would. 

Without question, the largest portion of our churches has slid into a maintenance/reactive mode. Struggling with that situation drove Melvin to seek a Word-based method to remedy our lethargy. Together, he and Juliet humbly presented ‘game plan’ for evangelism described in scripture—a pastoral leadership style that focuses on developing and equipping lay leaders to minister to the church and community.  This plan has been field-tested in both his current and previous districts.

The plan is well-developed and is well-supported—he provides a detailed notebook manual and holds a monthly webinar to instruct and train those who are following this plan.  He makes no claims that this is perfect.  It is continually in development as he interacts with others who are using it.  What is clear are the principles and the necessity of following this biblical directive in training lay leaders.

The presentations were very clear and well received by our pastoral team, despite the limited time we had provided for Melvin in the schedule.  My only regret was that we did not schedule more time for him to lay out the plan more fully.  To remedy that, at the time of this writing, we are arranging a follow-up for those who intend to implement a Discipleship-based ministry.

It is past the time that we continue fostering a pastor-focused ministry that leaves the members dependent, inactive and ineffective (or minimally effective) and the pastor vulnerable to an ego trip through “amen’s” and compliments for what is accomplished.  This plan creates a team atmosphere where we work effectively together and God gets the glory.

To His praise,

Haskell Williams


Ministerial Director

Carolina Conference

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