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

Russell Burrill

Second Advisor

Stanley E. Patterson

Third Advisor

John Matthews

Abstract

Problem. The doctrine of the state of the dead is not well understood. Popular culture and philosophy have deluged unchurched residents of the Saanich Peninsula in British Columbia, and indeed much of the world, with impressive deceptions regarding the supernatural world. Of particular concern is the increasingly pervasive postmodern mindset and its inherent resistance to traditional doctrinal preaching. Considering the strength of this deception, the treatment this subject receives in traditional evangelistic meetings is inadequate for persons newly introduced to it.

Methodology. I sought to address this problem by conducting a series of experiments in evangelistic seminars using elements of popular culture to teach the truth about the nature of the supernatural world. Through trial and error, I sought to perfect a seminar that would engage the postmodern mind. This journey of discovery was guided by the theology of evangelism as outlined in chapter 2, the literature on the subject as described in chapter 3, and the results of the previous seminars as recounted in chapter 4.

Results. We, as a church, reached very few hard-core postmoderns. Most of our non-Adventist guests were either postmodern-influenced seekers or Christian seekers. Although most of those we baptized were from these two groups, they still required a social connection to our church. Most of those we baptized had developed friendships within our church, or were already a part of church life. Looking back on our efforts, I realize that what I developed was how to teach postmoderns rather than how to reach postmoderns. The seminars became part of an ongoing discipleship process of the church.

Conclusions. Preaching alone does not facilitate the necessary paradigm shift in a postmodern or postmodern-influenced seeker. In order to fulfill the great commission within the postmodern world, we need to combine the teaching of doctrine with the development of community. In order to be a blessing to our postmodern guests, we need a modified set of evangelistic presentations that meet seven criteria. They must (1) start with issues with which postmoderns can identify, (2) answer questions that postmoderns are asking, (3) address longings that postmoderns are feeling, (4) speak in the language that postmoderns understand, (5) paint pictures and tell stories that postmoderns want to be a part of, (6) develop community into which postmoderns are invited and feel welcome, and (7) introduce an experiment that postmoderns can try.

Subject Area

Postmodernism--Religious aspects, Death--Religious aspects, Supernatural

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