Project Documents

Date of Award

1985

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Russell L. Staples

Second Advisor

Clarence B. Gruesbeck

Third Advisor

Norman K. Miles

Abstract

Problem. The rate of growth in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Iceland has not been previously analyzed. This study was undertaken to discover, through historical and numerical analysis, what may have contributed to or hindered growth in the church since 1950, and to analyze the programs of the church and the patterns of growth.

Method. A survey of records of the Iceland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, i.e., the church paper, executive minutes, constituency reports, membership lists, and accounts of outreach emphasis for several decades, presents a clear picture of the methods used in an attempt to achieve church growth.

In addition, a survey was conducted in all the churches in the conference in an attempt to discover the self-understanding of church members concerning their role and function in the church; their involvement in and satisfaction from the church services, and their conception of the community perception of the SDA Church.

Results. Records show that the work of the SDA Church in Iceland has been conducted in two main stages of evangelism. The rather vigorous evangelistic program conducted during the first part of this century led to the organization of fourteen churches and companies.

During the second stage the church concentrated upon Christian education. This has served the church well in biological growth, but has not been effective as means of outreach. A new SDA church has not been organized during the last thirty-two years.

The membership tenure in the SDA Church in Iceland has steadily increased for several decades. Presently, almost two-thirds of the church members under sixty-six years of age are second and third generation Adventists.

Conclusions. It is concluded that a change in strategy in evangelism is necessary in order to improve the rate of growth in the SDA Church in Iceland. therefore a reordering of priorities is recommended in which more of the resources of the church are channelled towards more direct forms of outreach involving the training and participation of the members of the church.

Subject Area

Church growth--Seventh-day Adventists

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