Project Documents

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Jorge E. Rico

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

Manuel Moral

Abstract

Problem. The Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cali, Colombia, was a successful church in the past, boasting a membership of almost 300 active parishioners. Unfortunately, for several years, many members have left this church. In 2010, the Central Church had only 50 members. This research was done with the purpose of developing a program that would help church pastors and leaders as well as the local Conference leaders to understand and to deal with the issue, and to obtain positive results.

Methodology. The research explains the causes, characteristics, and consequences of leaving the church. A Bible-based program was designed, focusing on the recovery of former Adventist members who deserted from the church. This program was implemented in the Central SDA Church in Cali, Colombia, with excellent results.

Results. The findings of this study reveal that the membership, which was initially 300, dropped to 50 due to desertion of a large number of its parishioners. When the seminar was implemented, the membership grew to 150. Other equally important qualitative results may include the active participation of the membership, the consolidation of the leadership, and the general motivation of congregants. It became clear that the desertion of members was due to both internal and external causes. Among those reasons are the few efforts made by the church leaders to teach and solidify the people in the teachings and doctrines of the Bible, which constitutes the work of retention. In addition, the role of the pastors, which involves nourishing the congregation, was diminished by the hard requirements imposed on them by the organization, like meeting numerous baptismal, tithe, and other goals. Finally, it was noted that the people who deserted ceased to pray and to have a personal relationship with God and with other parishioners.

Conclusion. The SDA Church in Colombia conducts large evangelistic efforts. However, due to its strong focus on meeting goals, the church has overlooked the real spiritual growth, follow up, and Christian discipleship. It is necessary to redefine the work of a pastor and to develop a program of discipleship that involves all the people who join the church.

Subject Area

Church work with ex-church members--Seventh-day Adventists, Church work with ex-church members--Colombia--Cali, Ex-church members--Seventh-day Adventists

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