Project Documents

Date of Award

1980

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Werner Vyhmeister

Second Advisor

Arnold Kurtz

Third Advisor

Eduardo Ocampo

Abstract

Problem. Over seventy-two years have passed since the first Adventist church was organized in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo, Brazil. During those years the church leadership has noted that the rate of Adventist Church growth there has been one of the highest in the world. In spite of this unique phenomenon of growth, no serious research has been undertaken to determine what the factors are that have helped the people to make their decision to accept the Adventist message. An evaluation of the Seventh-day Adventist outreach during the last five years (1975-1979) is necessary to determine which methods should be emulated to give a higher growth rate to the Church in future.

Method. The method used for this study lead into three different areas: (1 ) a brief historical, sociological, and theological reflection on the meaning of the SDA Church of Sao Paulo in relationship to the city itself and to the Adventist Church in general; (2) a collection of data by means of a questionnaire administered to the members converted during the past five years; and (3) the organization of the data into tables giving frequencies and percentages. In order to give some recommendations in relationship to the effectiveness of certain outreach methods in the area, the data were analyzed and conclusions were drawn.

Results. The final results of the research were related to the main objective of the study. Most of the new converts received their first information about the Adventist Church through friends and family members. The greatest personal influence on the new members' decisions to join the Adventists was lay activities. The preaching of the law and obedience to the Ten Commandments caught the attention of the majority of new converts and some of them have a legalistic view of some Adventist doctrines, according to the answers given on the questionnaire. Lastly, the social forces of the SDA Church helped the new converts to find a new community to replace the rural or small-village communities they left when they migrated to the city .

Conclusions. Some of the conclusions of the study are: (1) the SDA Church in Sao Paulo must use all the resources o f the lay activities to reach the people; (2) the Adventists have to preach a more Christ-centered message in Sao Paulo; (3) the Church should use social elements to win the different social groups that make up the Paulistan community.

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