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

Ernest Furness

Second Advisor

Johnny Ramirez-Johnson

Abstract

Problem

Nearly 70% of churches in the Potomac Conference do not have ministries that are geared at serving their communities. As a result of this problem, churches are not growing and are not making a significant impact in their communities. They have become internally focused congregations. Churches are missing opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with these communities through creative externally focused ministries. Externally focused churches believe God has called them to change communities for God’s kingdom. There is a need for churches in the Potomac Conference to become externally focused.

Methodology

The recruiting and training of church volunteers to serve in a videoconferencing community-focused ministry for families of inmates for a period of 16 weeks in selected churches of the Potomac Conference, provided a means for the transitioning of these congregations from being internally focused to becoming externally focused and becoming more engaged with their communities. This renewal process also included an instrument that measured the effectiveness of this project over the period of 16 weeks.

Results The results from the implementation of this strategy revealed several positive outcomes that I hope would encourage other congregations to follow. First, church members were trained to serve in a community-focused ministry. Second, this project started a revival for mission in the congregations. Third, selected churches from the Potomac Conference began a process of engaging their communities through a community-focused ministry. Fourth, church volunteers engaged in developing meaningful relationships with their neighbors. Fifth, the Seventh-day Adventist Church established a partnership with the Department of Corrections from Virginia and Maryland.

Conclusions

This project introduces several biblical principles of the externally focused church. It also establishes a clear biblical foundation for the mission of the church. If the church is to make a difference in the world, it must understand its role in the community. With the word “Go,” Jesus sent the church into the community to make a difference for the kingdom of God. This project will provide opportunities for other churches to begin a process of transitioning from an internal focus to one that serves the community. It will also continue to generate opportunities for Adventist churches to partner with the Department of Corrections in Virginia, Maryland and other states, to establish other video conferencing visitation centers for families of inmates.

Subject Area

Social Services--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Church work with prisoners; Communities--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Volunteer workers in social service; Potomac Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

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