Project Documents

Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Barry Gane

Second Advisor

Eduardo Schmidt

Third Advisor

Atilio Dupertuis

Abstract

Problem

The number of young people dropping out of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has increased 50 percent in the last ten years. Fifty-seven percent of those who left indicated the primary reason was not doctrines or theological issues, but the lack of relevance of the church to their lifestyle, spiritual needs, and everyday challenges. The purpose of this dissertation was to identify the spiritual, emotional, and relational needs of a specific generation, such as the millennial; and to develop a biblical spiritual lifestyle strategy to help today’s churches to reach and effectively minister to the members of that generation.

Method

The Scriptures were searched to see God’s method to reach and supply the need of His people. Current literature was searched for data collected by experts to help identify the characteristics and needs of the generation. The four stages of the spiritual formation strategy were developed and recommended for use by youth leaders, beginning with their own journey with God (intimacy), getting to know the generation they try to minister to (identity), making a connection between strategy and young people (integration), and finally implementing the strategy in their own environment (impact). Lastly, the strategy and insights were implemented and evaluated at the Lighthouse Church in San Juan Puerto Rico.

Results

The central argument was the return of interest and investigation into God’s activity and in His primary target - the human being. Heart-shaping involves both divine and human activity. God does not unilaterally mold and sculpt passive human beings who exercise no role in scripting their life development. Throughout the Bible it is found that God is more interested in developing relationships than religion. Youth leaders must take into consideration the spiritual journey of the young people who are going through different phases when ministering to this generation. Strategies include creating an effective relational ministry, developing a genuine encounter with God, and offering a safe place where young people can find practical solutions for their daily challenges and develop a servant heart toward the world. After completing my research, I discovered that the real strategy must begin by placing total dependence on God’s Word and His power. Youth workers must be a godly people before they are able to do God’s work. The youth worker’s first assignment is to be able to humbly recognize that God is the only One who can change the hearts of this generation. Youth workers must therefore look for every opportunity to develop a deep and personal relationship with God. Next, the characteristics and the needs of the Millennial Generation must be identified and met. The reason young people have difficulties with self-worth, spiritual growth, and maturity is because their true identity in Christ has been distorted. Youth ministers should work towards God’s eternal plan, which is to bring young people back to Him and restore their relationship with Him.

Conclusions

Applied in the local church, the “spiritual formation strategy” included the elements of acceptance and belonging, authenticity and spiritual worship, attraction and involvement, and application to make a difference in the world. The emphasis on the incamational ministry of Jesus and the developing of the spiritual life of young people is more than merely programming. It includes mentoring and modeling as well.

Subject Area

Church work with youth--Seventh-day Adventists; Generation Y

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