Project Documents

Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Tevni Grajales

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

Ronald Costa

Abstract

Problem

The task of this project was to develop, implement and evaluate a seminar to fortify the devotional life (Bible study, prayer, and Christian witnessing) of young people of the Central Miami Adventist Church. A study undertaken with a stratified random sample (organizing the whole population into groups and then taking a random sample) of 1,544 Seventh-day Adventist young people revealed four basic deficiencies: Social relationships within the church, devotional life, pressure from secularism, and apostasy. These deficiencies bear the potential of negatively affecting the church’s mission. A statistical analysis of the results of these surveys reveals that a consistent devotional life (seen as personal and family worship) has a doubly positive effect on participation in worship and in evangelistic activities of the church. Pastoral observation of the realities within Miami Central Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church suggests a similar situation. This is where the need to develop this project has emerged.

Methodology

This project (which through a seminar sought to fortify the devotional life of young people of the Miami Central Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church) used interviews and surveys as tools for diagnosis and evaluation. Concepts related to devotional life were studied in the light of the Bible, some Adventist studies, and other contributions from contemporary literature. A relevant study by the Interamerican Division (Grajales, 2003) and a survey by the Youth Department of Miami Central Spanish Seventh-day Adventist church were consulted as well. Participants contributed in a group interview and took part in a discussion that initially included one question: Are there some issues that are currently preventing you from having a solid devotional life? Other secondary questions also emerged from the participants’ responses. After the focus group discussion, ideas and concepts were analyzed and main themes and factors associated with the strengthening of their own devotional life were underlined. The resulting ideas and concepts were used to build upon for the presentation of three basic strategies to fortify their devotional life: Bible study, prayer, and Christian witness. Also, a four-week devotional challenge was presented to each attendee at the end of the presentation. Through personal observation as well as individual interviews, group discussion, and a survey, the results of the seminar were evaluated during and after the four-week challenge time frame.

Results

The seminar was prepared and presented to the youth of the church, and it was received by them with a good attitude. We had an attendance of 20 young people. All of them took part in the study groups when we split for interaction and evaluation. Reactions were positive and some of them showed interest in repeating the event next year. Each one of the three goals of the project was successfully reached: Bible study, prayer, and Christian witnessing. This is confirmed by evidences such as the successful participation of four of our young people in the North American Division’s Bible Bowl, the inspiring prayer walk in the community, and the youth evangelistic week in Easter when they were the speakers. Also, an increase in attendance and participation was noted during the church’s year-end activities (Christmas program, visitors’ day, choir’s concert, and youth Sabbath School).

Subject Area

Church work with youth--Seventh-day Adventists; Seventh-day Adventist youth--Religious life; Seventh-day Adventists--Florida--Miami; Miami Central Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church (Miami, Fla.)

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