Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Bruce Bauer

Second Advisor

Rudolf Maier

Third Advisor

Jon Dybdahl



When poverty in Uganda deepened due to the miseries and destabilization caused by economic mismanagement, turbulent politics, and the incessant civil wars in Uganda up to 1985, all public, private, and religious organizations were adversely affected. At the end of 1985, conditions in the Seventh-day Adventist church were characterized by massive poverty among its rural membership, a slow church-growth annual rate of 4.9 percent--the lowest tithe per capita in the Eastern Africa Division (EAD)--and the lowest remuneration scales for pastors in the EAD. In 1986, an indigenous, grassroots organization sprouted in the SDA church under the leadership of a young pastor, James Kaggya. The Integrated Grassroots Development Agency (GRIDA), as it later became known, was established for the purpose of addressing the problem of slow church growth in the SDA church and of widespread poverty in the country. These objectives were accomplished (1) by mobilizing, training, equipping, and empowering lay members to participate in evangelism, church planting, and church construction, (2) by improving the quality of life of poor people in the church and in community by using participatory planning skills and training, to empower participants to plan and execute their own self-help development projects, using locally available resources. Great emphasis was placed on empowering church members (the "grassroots") to stop looking for help from outside but to instead exploit whatever resources were available to them, towards becoming self-reliant. They could accomplish this as individuals or as groups (Action Teams) This study analyzed the effectiveness and efficiency of GRIDA in achieving its goals, and the challenges it encountered in implementing its programs.


I reviewed all the available literature on GRIDA, visited several grassroots projects, and held unstructured interviews with officers and participants of. GRIDA. Findings were analyzed in light of GRIDA's stated goals and also in the generally accepted church-growth and development principles.

The Results

The study found that, in general, GRIDA has been effective in achieving at least some of its initial goals. The most tangible objectives, such as increased lay participation in church affairs, substantial church growth through lay participation using grassroots methods, and the proliferation of self-help development projects using local resources, have been attained. However, the program has suffered from lack of sustainability. Many of the new members reverted for lack of nurturing, and several communal projects were never completed. This was due to organizational and methodological challenges.


Follow-up, disciple-making, and institutional development principles were recommended to GRIDA. If they are implemented, GRIDA will revolutionize the SDA church in Uganda. The potential of GRIDA on the basis of what has been realized is tremendous. It remains to be unlocked and released.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Uganda; Lay ministry--Uganda--Seventh-day Adventists; Integrated Grassroots Development Agency (Uganda)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.


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