Project Documents

Date of Award

1994

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Roger L. Dudley

Second Advisor

George R. Knight

Third Advisor

Philip G. Samaan

Abstract

Task. The task of this project was to determine the level of church involvement of Adventist baby boomers in metropolitan Atlanta, to identify factors that contribute to that level of involvement, and to suggest a strategy for intentional ministry to this population.

Method. Questionnaires were sent to 344 households in the metro-Atlanta area identified by pastors as containing young professionals. After three mailings, 260 individual responses were received (a response rate of 54.2 percent). The tabulation process identified an effective survey base of 161 individuals which met the combined requirements of age and income (earning more than $30,000 per year). Study bias can be traced to the method of developing the population sample. By relying on pastors to formulate this mailing list, the likelihood of sampling inactive members is decreased while the potential for hearing from active and involved members is increased.

Findings. Most respondents described themselves as "active,” claimed to attend Sabbath worship weekly, said they helped with church planning or programming, and held offices or served on committees. Respondents generally found their church involvement satisfying, rated their local church and its leadership favorably, and were strongly supportive of their pastor. While tithing and giving to the local church tended to increase with involvement, tithing decreased among those in the highest income category. Involvement increased with income. Concerns include weak participation in spiritual disciplines, a fragile friendship base, and marginal support of Adventist lifestyle issues. Personal soul-winning was nearly non-existent.

Implications and Conclusions. Baby boomers seem heavily involved in maintaining a church organization without involvement in its mission. Concerns about retention of this generation and the transmission of values to the next generation appear justified. Restructuring the worship service or developing innovative marketing and fund-raising techniques may be tempting but superficial remedies. A practical emphasis on a personal relationship with Christ, a fresh understanding of Adventist doctrines (particularly distinguishing principles from practice), and renewed ownership of vision and mission are suggested.

Subject Area

Baby boom generation--Georgia--Atlanta--Religious life, Church work with the baby boom generation--Seventh-day Adventists

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