Project Documents

Date of Award

1977

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Robert Moon

Second Advisor

Benjamin Reaves

Third Advisor

Russell Staples

Abstract

Problem

The recruitment of new members is a major objective of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Many of the departments within the Church compile reports including the number of baptisms which have resulted from their programs. Data from these departments frequently overlap, lack detail, and are of questionable value in evaluating the relative effectiveness of various evangelistic methods. An evaluation of current Adventist evangelism is needed to determine the relative effectiveness of evangelistic methods that the new members perceive as having influenced them to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Method

The methods used divided the study into three areas: (1) the preparation of a brief theological and historical description of the significance of evangelism in the Seventh-day Adventist Church; (2) the collection of data by means of a questionnaire administered by personal interviews and through the mail from a randomly selected group of new church members in the Southern California Conference; and (3) the organization of the gleaned information into tables giving frequencies and percentages. In order to improve the effectiveness and broaden the scope of Church evangelism, the data were analyzed to identify the relative effectiveness of the various evangelistic methods upon new members' decisions to join the Church.

Results

The results were related to five research objectives. The majority of new members first learned about the Adventist Church through a family member or relative. The greatest personal influence on the new member's decision to join the Church was a family member or relative, while the greatest evangelistic factor was Bible studies with the pastor. Sixty-seven percent of the new members indicated that a church doctrine had "very much" influence on their decision to join the Adventist Church. The data further revealed the influence of evangelistic methods on the new member's decision to join were primarily Adventist doctrines, secondarily Adventist people, and thirdly evangelistic factors with a dominant Bible-study component..

Conclusions

Some of the conclusions of the study are: (1) the Seventh-day Adventist Church should use evangelistic methods which present distinc tive Adventist doctrines and which have significant personal and/or Bible-study components; (2) an evaluation instrument should be developed for ongoing Church and/or Conference use which would aid in planning for evangelism; and (3) a theology of evangelism is needed to serve as a basis for guiding evangelistic methodology.

Subject Area

Evangelilstic work; Seventh-day Adventists--California, Southern

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