Project Documents

Date of Award

2011

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

Trevor O'Reggio

Abstract

Problem. The South São Paulo Conference loses an average of 32 percent of its members per year as a result of dissatisfaction with the church. According to the Office of Archives and Statistics of the Central Brazilian Union, the South São Paulo Conference baptized 2,057 people in 2004 and 797 dropped out of the church, resulting in a 38 percent church dropout rate in that year. In 2005, the conference baptized 2,516 people and 1,000 dropped out, for a disaffiliation rate of 39 percent. In 2006, 2,746 were baptized and 456 dropped out, for a disaffiliation rate of 19 percent. In 2007, the conference baptized 2,904 people and 1,010 dropped out, a disaffiliation rate of 35 percent. In 2008, the conference baptized 3,029 people and 927 dropped out, resulting in a disaffiliation rate of 31 percent. In 2009, the conference baptized 3,258 people and 844 dropped out, for a disaffiliation rate of 27 percent. The loss of membership in this conference is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Method. The research method used to conduct this study was the quantitative survey approach, as presented by the Handbook of Research Design and Social Measurement. For the purpose of this study, 100 former Seventh-day Adventists from four congregations in the South São Paulo Conference were selected to participate in the survey. These former members voluntarily participated in the survey and answered questions regarding their reasons for leaving the church.

Results. A discipleship seminar was created and implemented that produced an environment of spiritual acceptance among church members. Once the participants understood the meaning of discipleship, especially the new converts, they demonstrated confidence in the program and became engaged with it. They understood that this seminar was helpful to them as a significant spiritual tool to strengthen their faith.

Conclusions. This document describes and records the development, implementation, and evaluation of a proposed solution to the problem of member retention for the South São Paulo Conference in Brazil. It has been evaluated as to its practicality and potential as a successful member retention program among the Seventh-day Adventist churches in the South São Paulo Conference. This model is an approach that complements rather than competes with other methods to retain members within the church.

Subject Area

Church membership--Brazil

Share

COinS