Project Documents

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Miguel Valdivia

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

Ronald Costa

Abstract

Problem. The Hispanic ministry of the Michigan Conference has encouraged the practices of public witnessing and evangelism with the intention of developing healthy churches. However, recent reports indicate that in recent years these evangelization programs have not reached their full potential. The Seventh-day Adventist Church of Ann Arbor in Michigan has the challenge to serve, evangelize, and retain visiting immigrants who come to church looking for attention and solutions to their needs. So far there is no systematic program to achieve these objectives. The natural result of strategies geared towards promoting the physical and spiritual well-being of immigrants will lead them to perceive the church as their family and prepare them to accept Jesus as their personal Savior. As they learn to see themselves as part of something greater and find meaning in it, they will want to share their new sense of purpose with others. This program will inspire these newfound members to want to teach others just as they learned, about Jesus. Once the goal was set and the vision was clear, the church of Ann Arbor in Michigan decided to develop and implement a program to evangelize the Hispanic community of Ann Arbor that would yield measurable results. A second, not necessarily less important goal, was to increase the participation of the already established leaders of the church and solidify their personal ministry through training, equipping, and mobilizing them in evangelistic activities.

Methodology. In order to arrive at a conclusion and answer the question that this research poses, the author conducted a review of the writings of Ellen G. White and several Christian writers on the subject of evangelism among Hispanics. Conveniently, the Ann Arbor SDA Hispanic Church was available as an experimental asset for a year that allowed the application of methods and the assessment of the results. Based on the findings of the literature research, an evangelistic plan was implemented and evaluated. A strategy was then proposed to the church.

Results. Conducting and implementing this research program has increased the knowledge and experience of the author, and has nurtured in him the gift of evangelism. It also increased his ability to train and equip leaders in the task of witnessing and lay mobilization. During the period of the intervention (2007-2010), 83 persons gave their lives to Christ through baptism. The church leaders were led to identify methods and tools in order to face the challenges of contextualizing their witnessing. The church also developed a monitoring plan in order to meet and retain visitors. The author also provided information that enabled leaders to make choices and create tools that would help them attain success in soul winning. This helped motivate leaders to participate in the experience of witnessing both corporately and personally. Witnessing increased significantly and as a result church membership grew. One important result is that outreach and evangelization of the Hispanics became significant and regular components of the annual church calendar.

Conclusion. One conclusion is that the church should be a continuous and permanent training center. The church has the sacred duty to implement evangelism program that reach the Hispanics who come to our churches and congregations. This research at the Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church of Ann Arbor and its results have validated what many Christian authors and experts state concerning the growth factors for Hispanic immigrants. The importance of devising culturally sensitive methods to guide Hispanics to Christ, train them and send them to create new disciples has been reaffirmed.

Subject Area

Church work with Hispanic Americans--Seventh-day Adventists., Church work with immigrants--Michigan., Evangellistic work--Michigan--Ann Arbor., Hispanic Americans--Michigan.

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