Project Documents

Author

Kjell Aune

Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Bruce L. Bauer

Second Advisor

Rudi Maier

Abstract

Problem

Since 1979, when the membership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Norway peaked, the membership has declined. There are underlying, complex reasons. This project seeks the underlying causes for the decline, and suggests possible solutions.

Method

The study begins by establishing a theological basis for ministry. Norwegian society is then analyzed demographically followed by an analysis of the Adventist Church in Norway, that includes a historical and organizational analysis, a review of the database material for the Adventist Church in Norway, and by four questionnaires designed for (1) Active members, (2) Pastors, (3) Former members, and (4) Young non-Adventists with an Adventist background. The process of strategic planning is then spelled out.

Results

Church growth is not just something technical, functional or numerical. It is a project of the heart. Outer growth starts with inner growth. Based on demographics of the Norwegian society, it can be concluded that there is a neeed for home-based, relational and felt-need activities. The church needs to be more sensitive towards the needs and ways of postmodems and youth. More variety and tolerance is called for. Attention to the following groups will increase growth: Youth growing up in Adventist homes, guests visiting local churches, people with felt needs, immigrants, postmodems, youth wanting a different format or emphasis, new members, and former members. Spiritual renewal, relevance of preaching, discipling, spiritual gifts, and wide involvement need more attention. The role of the pastor needs to change to encourage more training and equipping. Focus on spiritual renewal and awareness is needed. Adventist distinctives need to be presented in a less theoretical way, showing the benefits in everyday life. The Church needs to be better at analyzing, involving, planning, following up, and evaluating.

Conclusion

There is hope for turning the negative trend to positive growth in the Adventist Church in Norway. A new way of thinking, a changed emphasis, adjusted methods, more variety and tolerance, and targeting groups with the greatest potential, can result in new growth. With more attention to the process of planning and evaluating, projects may succeed, and losses can be reduced.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Norwary; Church growth--Seventh-day Adventists; Church renewal--Seventh-day Adventists

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