Project Documents

Date of Award

1990

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Norman K. Miles

Second Advisor

Walter Douglas

Third Advisor

Steven R. Vitrano

Abstract

This project attempts to investigate the causes of membership dropout among selected churches in the East Jamaica Conference of SDA. Several New Testament examples are explored in an effort to determine the church's responsibility in behalf of the missing member. The role and function of the church as a loving, caring community in reclaiming and restoring dropouts is discussed. Paul's teachings in 1 Corinthians, Romans, and Ephesians concerning the church as a body and Christ the head also are examined.

A review of literature gives an overview of the dropout problem from the perspective of various Christian churches in an effort to find possible suggestions for reducing the dropout rate. The descriptive method used in the study is based upon 176 responses to a questionnaire and personal interviews with persons who have dropped out of the church. The responses were evaluated by the Research and Statistics Department of Andrews University.

The respondents cited a number of reasons for dropping out of the church. The first ten factors are as follows: (1) Violated the commandment on adultery, 45.2 percent; (2) personal spiritual life declined, 42.2 percent; (3) working on Sabbath, 33.3 percent; (4) lack of support in time of crisis, 24.0 percent; (5) members too proud, 23.3 percent; (6) influenced by non-Adventist association, 22.1 percent; (7) lack of fellowship, 18.4 percent; (8) drastic financial change, 18.2 percent; (9) inadequately prepared for baptism, 17.6 percent; (10) members to inconsistent, 16.9 percent.

The responses indicated that 47.9 percent are very likely to become regular active members of the church. This indicates that given the proper encouragement, care, nurturing and visitation, these individuals would return to active membership. Consequently, the findings of this study suggest that the church needs to give serious consideration to the factors responsible for membership dropout among selected churches in the East Jamaica Conference of SDA. It is anticipated that the recommended suggestions will be implemented to bring about a significant reduction in the dropout rate.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Jamaica; Ex-church members--Jamaica--Seventh-day Adventists

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