Project Documents

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Manuel Moral

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

Ronald Costa

Abstract

Problem. Although baptisms are performed several times through the year and members are received through transfers, attendance to church services are very low in the Central Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church of Chicago. The growth is unnoticeable, according to the church records of baptisms and professions of faith. Member transfer requests to other churches are very common and also many members need to be disaffiliated. The objective of this study is to discover the factors that influence the low retention of members in the Central Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church, and develop some strategies to support the conservation of people and yielding the result of membership growth. The church received the mandate to make disciples of the entire world (Matt. 28:19). Every person baptized is essential for the church (1 Cor. 12:7). Jesus hopes for His church to grow and retain its members (Jn. 15:4, 16). A church that is healthy and prosperous, that makes efforts for the good and to win souls, is a church that is alive.

Methodology. This research belongs to the field of applied theology. A literature review is done. This is a practical project which purpose is to develop solving problem strategies for retention of members in the church. The topic of retention is analyzed in light of the Holy Scriptures, the writings of Ellen White, and the actual literature. The Central Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church of Chicago is the natural setting for the creation and implementation of strategies to manage the low retention of the membership and to increase its level as much as possible.

Results. A tool is created and applied to discover the causes that are provoking the exodus of the membership. A questionnaire is developed with the purpose of discovering the objective reasons of desertion and increases the level of retention. Some member retention strategies are created, implemented and evaluated. As a result, the retention problem is controlled and solved in a practical way without neglecting recommendations that could be also applied to other settings by doing the correspondent contextualization.

Conclusions. The literature review about how to keep members in the church in a healthy holistic condition has been validated in the natural setting of the selected church. New strategies have emerged from this practical project which confirm that retention is a side of the objective growth of the church. A more consistent attendance to the church is achieved. The exodus of the members of the Central Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church of Chicago has been slowed down. The church has developed additional skills and strategies to retain its members. Most of the reasons that provoke members’ transfers and disaffiliations have been discovered and corrected. New members have been educated to prevent desertion from the church. All of these achievements allow the church to grow true and development of its membership.

Subject Area

Church attendance, Church membership

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