Project Documents

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Barry Gane

Second Advisor

Wolfgang Lepke

Abstract

Statement of the Problem. Reaching unchurched youth is an important obligation and a serious challenge for the SDA Church, especially in Europe. The SDA Church in Germany and Switzerland developed a strategy to reach postmodern young people with the Satellite Youth Evangelism “Link2Life.” This evangelistic effort had been conducted in 2002 and 2004 and involved almost two hundred local SDA churches and youth groups. However, the effectiveness of “Link2Life” has not been evaluated yet.

Statement of the Task. The task of this project is to establish a theological, socio-historical, and sociopsychological foundation in order to highlight the missional priority of youth evangelism for the church, to evaluate the effectiveness of “Link2Life,” and to establish basic recommendations to the Church.

Justification of the Project. A. God entrusted his disciples with the Great Commission and sent them out to be His witnesses in all the earth. The Church exists and lives in the context of this commission, and is called to bring the eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, tribe, language, and people. This call implies that we undertake any effort 2 to reach people, whatever their origin, their culture, their language, and individuality might be. Young people are different in “origin” (background), culture, language, and their perception of live. In respect to this call we have an obligation to reach the youth of our time.

B. Adolescence is crucial to the future life of the adult since it is marked by serious reflection, change, and decision-making. It is therefore suggested to see the lifespan of youth as a “primary mission field.” About 80 percent of all decisions for Christ are made before the age of twenty-five years.

C. Most of the Church’s evangelistic outreach is of a general nature concerning its target group and does not reach unchurched young people.

D. Reaching unchurched youth has to become more prominent in all our thinking about evangelism, how to direct our efforts, and invest our recourses.

E. As a Church that takes mission and evangelism very seriously we need to have appropriate means to reach postmodern youth. This requires the willingness and ability to contextualize the Gospel.

F. Evangelism has to be understood as a communal activity in a systemic context. Youth evangelism in general but also specific youth evangelistic programs need an intergenerational community where young people experience the biblical faith in Jesus in incarnational and relational terms.

Description of the Dissertation Process. A. Establish a theological foundation for youth evangelism.

B. Explore adolescence as a special interest for evangelistic efforts.

C. Study the developmental receptiveness of youth for the gospel message.

D. Review of selected literature on youth evangelism and postmodernism.

E. Study the paradigms of postmodernism in order to meet the challenge to reach unchurched youth with the Gospel.

F. Study the cultural relevance of evangelistic outreach to young people—especially the place of media, and music in an evangelistic context.

G. Present the SDA Satellite Youth Evangelism “Link2Life” in 2002 and 2004.

H. Evaluate and compare the effectiveness of “Link2Life” 2002 and 2004 as a strategy to reach unchurched youth.

I. Suggest basic recommendations and directions concerning youth evangelism.

Expectations from the Project. A. The study of the theological, sociological, and historical foundations for youth evangelism will help to understand the need and purpose of cultural relevance concerning evangelistic efforts to reach unchurched young people.

B. This project will establish historical evidence for the general nature of the Church’s evangelistic effort to reach youth.

C. An evaluation and documentation of “Link2Life” as a youth evangelistic model may help to establish recommendations to the Church that can help the Church become more aware of its mission to reach postmodern youth.

D. This project will have an appendix that provides resources from “Link2Life” 2002 and 2004 that might be of help for further youth evangelistic projects.

Subject Area

Church work with youth--Seventh-day Adventists, Church work with youth--Germany, Church work with youth--Switzerland, Postmodernism--Religious aspects, Evangelistic work--Germany, Evangelistic work--Switzerland

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