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

Bruce L. Bauer

Second Advisor

Wagner Kuhn

Third Advisor

David Penno

Abstract

Problem

The effort made by the Makoko Seventh-day Adventist Church to fulfill the great commission (Matt 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16) through public evangelism is challenged by the constant exodus of newly baptized converts out of the church. The emigration of new members out of the church has a compound effect on the church; it denies the church the opportunity to disciple new converts and discourages church members from continuing to fund public evangelisms as they are considered a waste of resources. When people accept Jesus they also receive eternal life, but when they leave the church they risk forfeiting the gift of eternal life and they become harder to win back. Loss of new members also causes membership records to contain more members than are actually present. The local conference uses the inflated membership records to set unreachable goals for the church that cause stress for the pastor and discourage the church members.

Method

The Bible, Ellen White, and modern scholars were consulted to better understand how to retain new members and to develop a retention strategy. A questionnaire for former members and focus group interview questions were developed and implemented to discover what former and current church members and district pastors say is the cause of new members’ exodus out of the church. A workshop to involve stakeholder participation in the development and implementation of the strategy for new members using Logical Analysis Approach was conducted. After the process of strategy development, a pilot evangelistic meeting was conducted at the Zanzibar company of the Makoko church, the results were monitored, evaluated, and reported on.

Results

The implementation of the new member retention project at the Makoko church has created an awareness of how to retain new members and has equipped the members with the means of combating the problem. After one year of project implementation, new member retention was improved from 42.4% to 86.8%.

Conclusion

The church members have come to realize that if the principles found in the Bible, the writings of Ellen White, and in other Christian authors are followed many more new members can be retained and new member losses significantly reduced.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Tanzania--Membership, Makoko Seventh-day Adventist Church (Mbeya, Tanzania)--Church membership--Tanzania

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