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

Emilio Abdala

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

Wagner Kuhn

Abstract

Problem. Biblical and contemporary authors point to church planting as one of the best strategies for the dissemination of the gospel. Despite that fact - on account of other critical issues concerning church growth in Sao Paulo, Brazil -, the administrators of the East Sao Paulo (ESP) Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church could not afford to implement this practice until 2009. The lack, therefore, of an intentionally organized effort to plant churches in the ESP Conference is a challenge that must be faced by the SDA church in that region. In Latin America, evangelicals such as the Baptists and the Assemblies of God have been quite successful with church-planting in most Spanish-speaking countries, especially Cuba (Garrison, 1999, Urbanek, 2012). One wonders, therefore, if the SDA church can make use of this successful methodology in order to maximize the evangelistic vocation of SDAs in such a cosmopolitan and challenging city as Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Methodology. This is a qualitative research work that fits the case-study model. It analyzes a practical ministry experience in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In order to do that, it reflects on the processes involved in the implementation of a program for planting churches in the ESP conference and it presents the project’s strengths and weaknesses. Finally, it also takes into consideration the types of corrections that were made so that the program could work.

Results. After a two-year experience (2010-2011) with a program for planting churches geared towards the idiosyncrasies of Sao Paulo’s metropolitan region, this research has demonstrated the effectiveness of the program. The data available for the year 2010 indicate that both the parent churches and the churches that were planted experienced numerical and financial growth beyond that observed before the implementation of the project and had a considerable reduction in the apostasy of new members.

Conclusion. This research shows that a program for church planting is feasible for application to the SDA church, even in the highly unfavorable conditions of a multi-ethnic, secularized metropolis in a third-world country. But it must be developed with the help of committed pastors as well as with the vibrant participation of theology students, and must receive financial support from the Conference. In fact, the program is not only feasible, but its results have proven to be far superior to the conventional methods of evangelism employed so far by the SDA church in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Subject Area

Church development, New--Brazil--Seventh-day Adventists, Church growth--Brazil--Seventh-day Adventists

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