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

Bruce L. Bauer

Second Advisor

Rudi Maier

Abstract

Problem

The growth of the Adventist Church in Finland stagnated in the mid 1980s and after that the membership of the church began to slowly decrease. There is a need to look at the past growth patterns of the church in Finland to discover the reasons for the present decline in membership and develop and implement a strategy for church growth.

Method

Current literature was reviewed, including books and articles on the principles and strategies of church growth. These were studied in the context of the Turku Church in order to determine if the principles in the Natural Church Development (NCD) approach could be contextualized to be used as a careful analysis tool of the problem and also for the purpose of strategy building. The project was planned and implemented as a case study in the Turku Adventist Church.

Results

The NCD paradigm was chosen as the preferred approach to the church growth problem. A strategy with an action plan based on NCD was developed and partially implemented in the Turku Church. The Church is willing to develop the plan further in order to remove the barriers for growth. The analysis of the NCD survey has given direction for further development in the quality of the church, which is likely to produce quantitative growth in the future. There is greater confidence and enthusiasm in the church although the process is at an early stage of implementation. The lessons learned will be used in the future revisions of the revitalization and church planting strategy of the Finnish Church.

Conclusion

The early results indicated that with the help of an NCD survey the church will become more aware of the barriers for growth and it can develop a well-structured plan for future growth in quality and quantity. The NCD process will also increase the effectiveness of the leadership as the strategy is further developed and implemented according to the project plan. It is also expected that the strategy will increase the health and growth of the Church.

Subject Area

Church growth--Seventh-day Adventists; Seventh-day Adventists--Finland; Turku Seventh-day Adventist Church (Turku, Finland)

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