Project Documents

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Steve Case

Second Advisor

Nikolaus Satelmajer

Third Advisor

Boubakar Sanou

Abstract

Problem

During the last decades of the twentieth century, the Greater Sacramento area of California became one of the largest Russian-speaking communities in the United States. According to Russian American Media, there are approximately 300,000 Russian-speaking residents. Many of them came to America as victims of religious persecution. However, today only about 30,000—just 10% of the total number of immigrants—are active members in different Christian churches. One reason for this is that the Russian Orthodox Church is trying to intensify its impact on Russian immigrants by linking all that is Russian with Orthodoxy. As a result, many Russian immigrants do not identify with Protestants in America, and a great number of them are not connected with any church.

Method

Ecclesiastes Worship Center was established in 2011 to minister to this immigrant population. Over time, to the initial target group of "unchurched" was added "disenchanted"—those who had previously attended church, but eventually left. In order to offer Russian-speaking immigrants free choice of belief, and to dispel the myth that Russian Orthodoxy was the only religious group in Russia, members of the Ecclesiastes Worship Center created a documentary about the religious reform movements within the Russian Empire. This documentary was produced in cooperation with the Ugol Studio in Sacramento and members of other churches.

Results

The creation of a documentary about the Russian reform movements became a missionary endeavor for everyone involved in it. This joint effort consolidated members of the Ecclesiastes Worship Center. Multi-confessionality of the creative team introduced new friends and made everyone more open to believers from other churches. As a result of this work, a documentary serial was created, which one and a half million people have already viewed. Furthermore, production of additional documentaries in the serial set has continued.

Conclusions

The post-postmodern generation differs from the previous ones by subjective rather than objective acceptance of truth. Therefore, there is a need to bring information in a way that is most effectively perceived: through the Internet and social networks. This information must be submitted in an appropriate form, which a person will be able to analyze independently. In this case, the video format would be the most acceptable. This was demonstrated in the example of the Ecclesiastes Worship Center, which was expanded by creating and using this documentary about the Russian reform movements.

Subject Area

Russian Americans--California; Russian Americans--Religious life; Russian Orthodox Church; Ecclesiastes Worship Center (Sacramento, Calif.)

Share

COinS