Project Documents

Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Second Advisor

Erich W. Baumgartner

Third Advisor

Gorden Doss

Abstract

Problem. Seventh-day Adventist churches have found themselves largely unable to grow beyond the 200-in-attendance barrier. Book membership may continue to increase, yet attendance plateaus. Outside of the institutional setting, there are very few Anglo Adventist churches that have grown beyond the barrier.

Method. The pastors of ten churches that were chiefly Anglo, 300-400 in attendance, and not in an institutional setting were surveyed. Ten churches with less than 220 in attendance and having a book membership of at least 350 were also surveyed. These were compared, looking for features that would make a difference.

Results. Differences do occur between the two groups. The areas that showed the greatest differences were in visioning, staffing, worship style, evangelism, and small groups. These findings were applied to the Northwest Houston Seventh-day Adventist Church. The results were that it grew through the 200 barrier.

Conclusions. If an Adventist church wishes to move through the 200 barrier, it must become a different kind of organization. Prayerful pastoral leadership is vital. Clear vision is critical. It must staff itself for growth. Evangelism should be more relational. Worship styles will tend to be more contemporary. The definition of small groups must be widened.

Subject Area

Church growth--Seventh-day Adventists

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