Project Documents

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

D.Min.

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Nancy J. Vyhmeister

Second Advisor

Bruce L. Bauer

Third Advisor

Wagner Kuhn

Abstract

Problem.

Although many people are baptized at the Gikondo Seventh-day Adventist Church each year, about 70% leave the church shortly after baptism.

Method.

The biblical principles of church growth were studied and theological reflection focused on four biblical themes. First, the call to integrate the Great Commission into the daily life and relationships of the individual believer in Christ was examined. Second, church growth as faithfulness to God was explored as a biblical teaching. Third, the view that a healthy church embraces multiplication of disciples as its core responsibility was studied from a biblical perspective. Fourth, the role of the pastor as equipper and trainer was also studied. Ellen G. White’s books and the writings of other Christian authors dealing with small groups were studied; literature on strategies of church growth was also consulted. Books and articles on the principles, strategies, and programs to help pastors develop small groups in the local church for evangelism and nurture were consulted. A church growth study covering the ten previous years was conducted and then all 14 church elders and 30 additional members were interviewed to ascertain their views regarding a small group approach. All of them were open to using small groups as a basis for the church’s ministries, so a strategy was developed and implemented to start such a program. A training program was developed to train small group leaders in the Gikondo Church.

Results.

The Gikondo church members learned how to use a small group approach as a basis for the church’s ministries, which led to increased church growth. The small group approach contributed to both quantitative and qualitative growth. Groups increased from 44 in 2012 to 103 in 2014. In addition, 55 pre-Christians joined the small groups and 38 of them have been baptized.

Conclusions.

I discovered that for continued numerical and spiritual growth, a local church must continue to multiply its small group ministries. Intentional discipleship through a small group ministry is one way to help believers and non-believers experience God in their lives and to support them in their journey towards becoming deeply committed disciples of Christ. Small groups have also increased the involvement of many church members in Bible study and in the different church ministries.

Subject Area

Small groups--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists, Church grown--Rwanda, Gikondo Sevent-day Adventist Church (Kigali, Rwanda), Seventh-day Adventists--Rwanda--Kigali

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