Project Documents

Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Barry Gane

Second Advisor

Allen Walshe

Third Advisor

Kenley Hall

Abstract

Problem. Research has indicated that there are three factors essential to the retention of young adults in the Seventh-day Adventist Church: Adventist education, the local church, and the home (Dudley, 2000, p. 79). However, a majority of high school youth from the Idaho Conference of Seventh-day Adventists family units are not receiving the spiritual nurture of Adventist education because they are attending public schools. While local churches offer curricula for spiritual education, there is no provision for compensatory family-based curricula for these students.

Method. As a means of addressing this problem, materials for family-based spiritual nurture of Adventist public high school students in the Idaho Conference were selected and distributed to selected families for one school year. During that time, communication was maintained with the families through newsletters. At the end of the school year, the students and their parents were surveyed regarding their perception of the value of the supplied materials toward improving spiritual nurture. The responses from the surveys were analyzed and recommendations were made to the Idaho Conference Board of Directors on how better to spiritually nurture the Adventist youth who are attending public high schools in the conference. Recommendations were also made to the publishing houses and materials distribution organizations and the North Pacific Union Conference and the North American Division on how they could support family-based youth ministry for Adventist public high school youth. Finally, recommendations were made for further research.

Results. While 83 parents and public high school students originally agreed to take part in this project, only 10 surveys were returned from six parents and four students at the end of the study. Although this is a small portion of those accepting the materials, the survey results were informative. Before asking them about the specific materials distributed, I asked about their perception of other spiritual nurturing programs and activities in being helpful for the spiritual nurture of the teenagers. The survey respondents viewed the church worship service, youth Sabbath school, family worship, and personal devotions as more helpful than unhelpful. Although, the students viewed family worship and personal devotions as slightly more helpful than the parents did. Four types of books were distributed to the families: devotional, doctrinal, practical, and an informational book on teen development. The respondents viewed the doctrinal book as being the most helpful and the developmental book as being most unhelpful for the spiritual nurture of Adventist public high school students.

Conclusions. Three observations were demonstrated by the project: (a) there is a felt need for family-based youth ministry participation in the Idaho Conference, (b) families have difficulty in following-through with family-based youth ministry programs, and (c) mid-adolescents see value in family-based youth ministry. These observations substantiate the value of family-based youth ministry and should encourage pastors, youth leaders, and parents to continue seeking ways for it to be successful.

Subject Area

Church work with youth--Seventh-day Adventists, Church work with youth--Idaho, Church work with students--Seventh-day Adventists, Church work with students--Idaho, Seventh-day Adventist youth--Religious life

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