Date of Award

2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Mission and Ministry PhD

First Advisor

Jon L. Dybdahl

Second Advisor

Erich W. Baumgartner

Third Advisor

Sharon W. Pittman

Abstract

The main goal of this study was to develop a theory of missionary outreach to unchurched Czech people which is biblically informed and culturally relevant. The theoretical proposal for a plausible model of churching in the Czech Republic builds on basic theological, philosophical, and conceptual assumptions (chapter 2), a societal analysis of the problem of Czech churching (chapter 3), and a review of the issues relating to the situation of existing churches and religious movements.

Based on Wallace’s theory of revitalization movements a model is developed for starting a missionary movement that aims at reaching today’s unchurched and seemingly irreligious segments of the Czech population. This model allows for more flexible ways of communicating the gospel and envisions multiple forms for developing a community of believers.

The field research underlying the theoretical proposal included ethnographic and assessment-oriented research. The ethnographic research combined qualitative and quantitative methods. A newspaper content analysis searched for dominant themes and prevalent cultural values in the newspaper media, and then analyzed newspaper articles related to religion and/or church. The ethnographic field research measuring the religiosity of the Czech people consisted of a survey of religiosity (Appendix B), and six in-depth interviews of unchurched people (Appendix A). By clarifying some aspects of the religiosity of unchurched people it contributed a depth dimension to the proposed revitalization movement model.

In order to test some emerging conclusions, a number of brief interviews with unchurched believers, active church goers, and church leaders, as well as a survey measuring the health of congregations (Appendix C) were done. The multivariate methodology generated the findings that provided the building blocks for a theory of a context-sensitive model of churching.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Czech Republic, Czech Republic--Church history, Secularism--Czech Republic, Church work with non church-affiliated people--Seventh-day Adventists, Non church-affiliated people--Czech Republic, Andrews University--Dissertations--Seventh-day Adventists--Czech Republic.

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