Project Documents

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Ferdinand O. Regalado

Second Advisor

Tara VinCross

Third Advisor

Sabine Vatel

Abstract

Problem

A church with declining membership for over 20 years and almost devoid of additional new member through baptism is a pastoral concern. Such is the situation with San Diego Central Seventh-day Adventist church. This scenario appears contrary to the biblical formula for individual as well as congregational health that Jesus emphatically stated in John 15. Connectedness to Jesus, the Vine, naturally results in fruitfulness. When a person does not bear fruit, it may indicate a lack of or no connection to the Vine at all. Connection to Jesus is nurtured and sustained by a devotional pattern. A process that assists church members to implement meaningful and consistent devotional patterns that enhances their personal relationship with Jesus. It will concur with the biblical notion that doing for Jesus comes after being with Him.

Method

A process for implementing devotional patterns was formulated and conducted for volunteer participants on February to April 2013. It consists of a 10-week, once-a-week closed group session designed to encourage, deepen, and personally assist participants in their desire to form and/or enhance their devotional practice. This was followed by a once-a-month meeting for the subsequent three months. A Journey curriculum was utilized for this period along with an interactive group setting. To measure the effectiveness of this process, a survey questionnaire was obtained from the entire congregation and the volunteer participants before the sessions and from the volunteer participants again after the sessions. The data collected were analyzed and interpreted using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software and with the aid of a qualified statistician. It should be noted that research tools used in formal qualitative and quantitative research were applied to the research related to this intervention project but this does not constitute formal qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods research since the Doctor of Ministry program does not provide a research methodologist to oversee the process.

Results

The volunteer participants perceived that their church is welcoming and conducive for learning and growth more than their perception before the Journey sessions. The Intrinsic motivation indicates that they agree strongly than before about the divinity of God who is worthy of their affection and on-going relationship. The Extrinsic motivation suggests that they move farther away from regarding their relationship to God as a means to get what they wanted. After the six-month period of this study, the participants registered a decline on Practicing their Faith which means praying and meditating a little less, reading the Bible on their own less, and telling someone about God and helping others a little less than before the Journey session. This can mean that the period of time allotted to assess the overall impact of the Journey regarding Practicing of Faith may have been too short. It can also mean that the effect of the Journey process on Practicing of Faith is less reliable if the volunteer sample is too small, or maybe the participants were more honest in responding to the questionnaire after the Journey experience.

Conclusions

The intentional carving of time to learn and share personal experiences relating to God for at least 10 consecutive journey weeks enhances a person's view and relationship with God. It appears that it would require more than six months to adequately assess this process' effect on the Practice of Faith such as time alone with God, personal reading of the Bible, telling someone of God, and helping other people. A biblical view of God importantly prepares a person for a meaningful and consistent devotional pattern which correspondingly ensures fruitfulness in life.

Subject Area

Christian life; Spiritual life--Seventh-day Adventists; Seventh-day Adventists--California--San Diego; San Diego Central Seventh-day Adventist Church (San Diego, Calif.)

Share

COinS