Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Millennial students at Georgia-Cumberland Academy (GCA) are not being inspired and equipped to actively engage in community outreach. GCA is a boarding school with 80% of students having homes in other locations, limiting their opportunity to develop connections with any local community, both at home and at school. The result is that students are graduating without needed skills to spiritually interact with their community and to share their faith in Jesus in meaningful ways. About 60% of Adventist youth are leaving the church, and part of the problem may be their lack of connection to the outreach ministries of the church.
A strategy for developing a church-wide system of outreach-oriented small groups was developed to provide Millennial students the opportunity to grow in community and to be inspired and equipped for outreach involvement. Characteristics of the Millennial generation were researched, along with successful small group strategies. Over four semesters during two school years, leaders were trained, group members were recruited, and outreach opportunities were developed based on an investigation of community needs. A Group Leader Training Series video curriculum was developed, along with Reach the World small group studies. Student attitudes regarding the impact of small groups on areas of their spiritual life were evaluated via surveys.
A wide variety of affinity-based GROWgroups were formed with both GCA students and GCA Church members leading and participating. GROWgroup participants were involved in outreach both as groups and as individuals to meet the needs of the community. A majority of students that participated indicated that the GROWgroups were beneficial in the development of their spiritual life, their social interaction, and their attitude toward outreach.
Based on survey results and continuing small group interactions, the outreach-oriented small groups did have a perceived positive impact on inspiring and equipping for community outreach. Further study is recommended as to optimal group formats, outreach initiatives, and characteristics of future generations.
Generation Y, Smaill groups, Georgia-Cumberland Academy of Seventh-day Adventists (Calhoun, Ga.), Witness bearing (Christianity)
Hudson, Greg, "A Strategy for Developing Outreach-oriented Small Groups for Millenial Students at Georgia-Cumberland Academy Church" (2017). Project Documents. 310.