Project Documents

Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Second Advisor

Alanzo H. Smith

Third Advisor

Joe Kidder

Abstract

Problem

The New York Luso-Brazilian congregation was organized on October 23, 1971, with approximately ten members. By December 2005, its membership was 329, including two new congregations formed recently. In spite of the growth during the first two or three decades, this church has not experienced much growth in the last ten years. Many members are not committed to the Great Commission. Only ten percent participate in some kind of outreach. Analyzing the profile of this church, it was verified that the growth came mainly through immigration. One of the main challenges, therefore, is to involve the laity in missionary work. There is a need to develop a more effective, intensive, and intentional equipping program; this church needs to have more training that puts the members to work for evangelism. The pre-survey revealed that the great majority of the members (84- 86 percent) would like to have more evangelistic programs and be trained to participate in outreach.

Method

The equipping cycle starts with a leadership retreat that will inform and orient the leaders of the church. A series of sermons will be used to educate and motivate the members; and a series of twelve seminars geared to equip the laity for ministry will follow. The church will have an ongoing program in an effort to establish a center for training and evangelism. A series of nine Bible studies was developed to provide updated resource material for Bible studies. Visitation, literature distribution, small groups, and evangelistic meetings were planned to offer opportunity for member participation.

Results

The church as a training school for Christian workers will equip the laity to fulfill their mission. The hands-on training will give opportunity for practical learning and outreach. As a result, the church will accomplish both objectives, equipping the laity and reaching the world. This equipping program enables the laity and the pastor to coordinate training and outreach activities. By observing the church in action, it was obvious that changes were made. The intentional evangelistic approach in several church activities was evident, even in those that traditionally were focusing on retaining instead of outreach, such as week of prayer or spiritual retreat. The survey reports a number of new members participating actively. More participants affirmed spending more time on personal prayer, giving Bible studies, and a tremendous increase in the number of members participating in outreach activities. The majority of members insisted that the church should provide more evangelistic programs, and that they would be willing to participate in lay training to develop their skills to better serve the church and the community.

Conclusions

The equipping program gave the church a new desire to fulfill the mission and reach out to the community. It also increased membership participation and involvement in all church activities, especially those related to evangelism. Some baptisms came as a result of the program, and most of those baptized were new people coming from the community. The church is aware of a new way to coordinate and promote their activities. The annual calendar is prepared looking for creative means to reach out to the community. The present experience, the training material, and evangelistic tools will provide indispensable resources for the next year cycle.

Subject Area

Lay ministry--Seventh-day Adventists; Laity--Seventh-day Adventists, Laity--Training of; New York Luso-Brazilian Seventh-day Adventist Church (New York, N.Y.)

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