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 Vyhmeister

Second Advisor

Bruce Bauer

Third Advisor

Boubakar Sanou

Abstract

Problem

According to a report given at the 2010 year-end church board meeting that was conducted in the Nyaguta district of the South Kenya Conference, more than 40 percent of the members baptized each year drop out from the church.

Method

The current nurturing programs in the Nyaguta District churches were reviewed to see whether they were effective. A questionnaire was administered to the focus groups to obtain information. Seminar materials on membership retention from the Bible, the writings of E. G. White, and other Christian writers were developed and a series of seminars were conducted to train a group of assistants who started teaching lessons they had received on retention for a total of one month in the various churches in the district.

Results

The project was implemented in the 29 local churches of the Nyaguta district with the following were the results. First the district grew to a level where it was reorganized into two new districts. Second, the church attendance of newly baptized members, improved—with reports indicating that more than 90% of those baptized since 2011 attend church regularly. Third, all the churches now have regular organized worship services in home churches and this additional fellowship and nurture has strengthened retention in the district. Fourth, some of the issues dealing with culture, for example, ancestors worship, female circumcision, and contacting diviners have been addressed and members who were formerly practicing these have discontinued such practices. Fifth, there are fewer leadership struggles within the churches and most of the churches are experiencing more leadership stability. Sixth, most churches are now following the appropriate baptismal procedures in training baptismal candidates. These include consistent teaching for at least six months and assigning an elder or an experienced member to continue nurturing new members until they are grounded in basic Adventist teachings. Seventh, the new spiritual nurturing methods conducted are followed by more than a half of the churches. Eighth, out of the seminars conducted and counseling sessions done several people have been healed and others delivered from evil spirits.

Conclusions

It is important to note that the overall goal of the project was achieved, which was to reduce the dropout of members in the Nyaguta district to at least 10%. It is also important to note that by increasing the retention of members in the district I have achieved the goal of Adventist mission which is to make disciples for Christ. One cannot make disciples unless church members are nurtured. In fact, spiritual nurture is the most important function in an Adventist church.

Subject Area

Church membership--Kenya, Seventh-day Adventists--Kenya--Membership, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. East-Central Africa Division. East Kenya Union Conference. South Kenya Conference., South Kenya Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Nyaguta District of Seventh-day Adventists

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