Project Documents

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Jose M. Espinosa

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

David Penno

Abstract

Problem

The West Valley Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, has the challenge to serve, evangelize and retain immigrant visitors that arrive to the church in search of attention and a remedy for their needs. The truth is that there is no structured program to achieve this goal. Because of this, the church was searching for a way to find strategies to serve them in such a way they feel welcome in the church and they are prepared to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior, and become members of a church. With this background in mind, the West Valley Church in Phoenix, Arizona decided to implement a program to minister to the visitors and that would give immediate results in the work of evangelizing the immigrants and visitors that attend the church.

Methodology

The program considers four important aspects in the spiritual life of the immigrant and, consequently, of the church member: prayer, Bible study, community service, and discipleship. The first step was to organize the church in four groups of 40 people each. At the same time, each group was divided in groups of 12 plus their leader. These groups of 12 made up the Sabbath School classes. Each group of 12 was divided in three cells of four people. Each group had their respective leaders and responsibilities in regards to the direction of the church. The groups of 40 led the Sabbath services in turns each month and promoted one of the aspects of the program. These groups were assigned a color and a “tree” of each color to organize the leadership of the activities each Sabbath and distinguish the order the groups will follow in the development of the activities each Sabbath. The colors used were green, red, blue and yellow. Each group would lead the worship service and other activities on one Sabbath a month in accordance to the color order. Throughout the year the green group led out in prayer. Each person prayed for three believers, starting with the head elder and ending with each member that, at the same time, prayed for three visitors. The red group led out in Bible studies generated by the interest of the visitors for which the members were praying. The cells of four were the ones conducting the Bible studies. Each cell gave one study a week. The blue group led out in community service. The entire church was involved in service to the immigrants through fellowship and socializing, supplying the need for food, the search for a job, and through recreational activities and sports. Each day they distributed food and each Sabbath there was food prepared for the visitors that attended church. These activities, besides retaining and gaining new converts, brought spiritual unity, strength and communion between the families in the church. The yellow group was in charge of leading in discipleship. This consisted of training the entire church to carry out their various ecclesiastic responsibilities and instructing them to preach the gospel. Furthermore, evangelistic campaigns were organized during the year, and adolescents, young adults, women and men were involved. When the campaigns ended, evaluations and adjustments were made to determine the number of newly baptized members. Each baptized person was instructed accordingly and received the necessary tools to enter in the circle of Christ discipleship.

Results

Approximately every three months evaluations and adjustments were made to the work reports to track the growth of the church. First, it was observed that more than 100 people had given their lives to Christ through baptism in one year. Also, the church developed a follow-up plan to assist and retain the immigrant visitors. In addition, the church worked for God and his community. Finally, the spirituality, camaraderie, and unity of the church were best expressed through worship and thanksgiving to God.

Subject Area

Church work with Hispanic Americans--Seventh-day Adventists; Church work with immigrants--Seventh-day Adventists; Hispanic Americans--Arizona; Evangelistic work

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