Project Documents

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Ramon Canals

Second Advisor

Michael Steenhoven

Third Advisor

Kathleen Beagles

Abstract

Problem. There are many members in the Hillsboro Seventh-day Adventist Church who do not attend the weekly worship service on a regular basis. More than half of the members on the books are inactive. For the last 5 years, attendance at the Hillsboro Church has declined. The present study determined the impact of a visitation program on church attendance. In the program attending church members visited inactive members.

Method. Theological considerations on the importance of the involvement of church members in visitation led to the development of a visitation program. This program was implemented at the Hillsboro Church and evaluated for effectiveness in increasing attendance.

Results. Over 20 members of the Hillsboro Church were trained, equipped, and coached to do the work of visitation. Church attendance grew by 5% from the previous year to a level that was 3.1% higher than the average attendance for the previous 10 years. Two inactive members began attending church again. Members who no longer wanted to be on the church books were identified. And a culture of church attendance was started.

Conclusions. The work of ministry is not for pastors only. The responsibility to reach out to inactive members in the local church falls on the active church members themselves. When these members are properly trained, equipped, and coached, they will be part of searching for those who are no longer attending church. These local church leaders are eager and willing to do the work of God if given the opportunity. Moreover, these leaders should make specific plans to reach the growing numbers of inactive members.

Subject Area

Visitations (Church work), Lay ministry, Church attendance, Church work with ex-church members

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