Project Documents

Date of Award

1993

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Abraham Terian

Second Advisor

C. Raymond Holmes

Third Advisor

Roger L. Dudley

Abstract

Problem. Attendance at the Lord’s Supper is often lower or much lower than at the regular Sabbath services. The purpose of this project was to increase the attendance at the Lord’s Supper by generating a deeper understanding of this sacrament among a particular congregation.

Method. My first task was to discover the perceptions of my members regarding the theology and the practice of the Lord’s Supper. A comprehensive survey was prepared and administered. The data was collected and analyzed as reported in Part One. The empirical data show a number of factors that contribute to low attendance at the Lord’s Table: lack of understanding of the theological significance of the Lord’s Supper, feeling unworthy, having unresolved differences with fellow believers, and feeling uncomfortable about foot washing. Once I discovered the issues in the empirical data that contribute to low attendance I turned to study the Scriptures, the writings of Ellen G. White and other non-Adventist literature in order to write four studies on the Lord’s Supper which appear in Part Two of this report.

Results. Four sermons, informed by the preceding studies were then prepared. The sequel of the four sermons preached showed in the results of a second survey that preaching does have an effect on those in attendance at church. However, changes in attitude are a slow process. For those on the fringes of church fellowship, there is great need for pastoral visits and attention. The whole experiment indicated that the solution to the problem of low attendance lies in better preparation of baptismal candidates, education, home visitation, and some more education through the spoken and written word in the official church papers.

Conclusions. Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God has reconciled humanity to himself. By his word God calls us into a new relationship with himself--a relationship that is inaugurated by baptism into Christ and nurtured through his Word and deepened through regular participation in the Lord’s Supper. That relationship expresses itself in a life of faith and loving service. When God’s people are gathered at the Lord’s Table to commemorate this redemptive act, Christ makes effective among them the benefits of his victory and elicits their response of faith, thanksgiving, and self-surrender. Christ, through the Holy Spirit, is present to build up his church, to strengthen its fellowship and to further its mission. In the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes in the clouds of heaven. We look back with thanksgiving to what Christ has accomplished for us on the cross, commune with him at the Table, and look forward to his final Parousia. This project demonstrates that by educating the membership regarding the value of participation in the sacrament, the attendance can be increased and stay at that level while making participation in the sacrament more meaningful to all in the church.

Subject Area

Lord's Supper--Seventh-day Adventists

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