Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
During the first decade of the 21st century, a review of the ministry structure of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Johns, Antigua, was done. It revealed that there was a need for a systematic plan to nurture new members into leaders. Although there were new converts classes held and materials were available for study, there were few organized plans within the church that would assist new members to become spiritually mature and equipped for ministry. This lack of structure has resulted in very few people being prepared to serve in the ministries of the church. Something needed to be done to move new members to spiritual maturity and into ministry. The creation of a discipleship model for new converts at the St. John’s SDA church was deemed to be most important to help it fulfill its mission.
A 12-week discipleship small group structure was developed in 2013 to help the congregation mature its members. It included the learning components of linking theory to practice, fostering personal spiritual development, and utilizing mentoring relationships. Five goals for a spiritually healthy life were the central focus. These included worship, fellowship, nurture, ministry, and evangelism. The success of this process was measured by how each member magnified God, matured, and involved themselves in ministry and mission.
All six persons completed the 12-week small group discipleship session. The results showed minimal but consistent growth in the five areas of spiritual health that were measured as mentioned above. Only one of the six persons in the group did not show any growth. The short time used was the main weakness of this program. However growth was shown in areas that were not measured by the instrument used in this project.
This study demonstrates that a well-structured small group model with a clearly defined plan for spiritual growth of each member of the group can assist new believers to achieve spiritual maturity. Spiritually matured members should improve the leadership potential of a congregation. It may also have implications for how we plan, organize, and apply conservation methods in our congregations.
Discipling (Christianity); New church members; Church work with new church members--Seventh-day Adventists; St. John's Seventh-day Adventist Church (Antigua)
Knowles, Wayne Rupert, "A Discipleship Project For New Members At The St. John's Seventh-day Adventist Church" (2015). Project Documents. 286.