Project Documents

Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

A. Allan Martin

Second Advisor

Eduard Schmidt

Third Advisor

Kenley Hall

Abstract

The Topic. The Houston International Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church has had significant challenges baptizing and retaining its youth. In the last five years, only a few youth have been baptized and nearly 50% no longer attend church. A primary contributing factor seems to be the lack of training to develop genuine biblical discipleship in the youth and young adults. Eims (1978) describes the process of discipleship as ―[taking a] person from the time of his conversion and helping him become a solid, dedicated, committed, fruitful, mature disciple who could in time repeat that process in the life of another‖ (p. 18).

The Purpose. The purpose of this dissertation is to assess the effectiveness of implementing the Jesus Loves Jeans Youth Discipleship Initiative by measuring the difference it makes in the evangelization and retention of youth for Houston International SDA Church. If one considers biblical discipleship to be the overarching principle and the broad opening of a funnel, the Jesus Loves Jeans Initiative is merely a first step and tool for youth and young adults to be activated in evangelism while increasing their commitment, maturity, and helping them become more fruitful and naturally retaining them. Because of the time limitations of this study it does not include a longitudinal analysis of the retention of these youth and young adults, but does provide some anecdotal references of the initiatives results in other places.

The Sources. A survey of the Bible and the writings of Ellen White will contribute to a theological analysis of general as well as youth evangelism and retention principles. A study of selected current literature relevant to youth evangelism, and pertinent sociological and cultural concepts that relate to the effectiveness of the Jesus Loves Jeans initiative, will be conducted. The results of the initiative will be analyzed to glean insights about the effects on the church, its youth and young adults, and the overall impact on the Houston International SDA Church.

Conclusions. Some of the current youth evangelism principles found to be successful in evangelization and retention of youth are core foundations of the Jesus Loves Jeans youth discipleship initiative. The biblical principles of discipleship and the unique mission of the SDA Church are reflected in this initiative. This initiative proved successful in activating, and connecting, with the target audience of youth and young adults at the Houston International SDA Church. In addition, the conclusion of this dissertation contains various samples of the materials and information for implementing this initiative in other Adventist churches (see appendices B and C).

Subject Area

Church work with youth--Seventh-day Adventists, Church work with youth--Texas--Houston, Evangelistic work--Texas--Houston, Evangelistic work--Seventh-day Adventists

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