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

Barry Gane

Second Advisor

Steve Case

Third Advisor

John Grys

Abstract

Problem. From 1951 to 2001, at the Kitchener-Waterloo Seventh-day Adventist Church, only one family from the founding generation has its children and grandchildren attending and active in the church. Most of the second and third generation members of the church who once attended, no longer practice their inherited Adventist religious beliefs. As the church membership was aging, the church was dying and membership continued to decrease, especially the number of young people. It was becoming evident that the church needed intervention to prevent continuous loss of members. In order to prevent a repeat of history, there was a need for an intentional mentoring and discipleship program/process for young people in the church, especially the early adolescents.

Method. After four years of intentional ministry for the young people of the church from September 2002 to December 2005 in laying the foundation for successful children’s ministries and youth and young adult ministry, both long-term (7 years) and short-term (7 months) mentoring and discipleship program/process were introduced and implemented from 2006 to 2012 and from March to September 2013. The mentoring and discipleship program/process involved the early adolescents in service and mission projects and church events, in the regular presence of a mentor (the researcher) who, modeled the Christian identity, living Christ’s self-renouncing and self-sacrificing love by teaching them the missionary spirit of selfless Christian service for God and others.

Results. The overall retention rate of the young people of the church since the mentoring program/process began is 90%, and the retention rate of the young people who were involved and participated in at least three of the six mission trips of the last 6 years and who have gone through over 3 years of a seven-year intentional mentoring and discipleship program/process during their adolescence is 100%. These adolescents are all attending the church faithfully and are actively serving in different ministries of the church.

Conclusion. The influence of a Christian mentor who teaches and exhibits true Christ-like character is essential in an early adolescent’s faith development. Mentoring and discipleship of early adolescents is necessary to keep young people in the church and to help them become proactive in their Christian faith, living a life of self-renouncing and self-sacrificing love, resulting in selfless Christian service.

Subject Area

Church work with youth--Seventh-day Adventists, Seventh-day Adventist youth--Religious life, Seventh-day Adventist youth--Canada--Ontario, Mentoring in church work, Discipling (Christianity)

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