Project Documents

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Denis Fortin

Second Advisor

Steve Case

Third Advisor

Richard Sylvester

Abstract

Problem

According to recent research on young adults in the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists, there has been an approximate 68% attrition rate (Rainer, 2009, pp. 5-6). This research revealed that 84% of the young people growing up in the Collegedale Church drop out and only 38% of those who drop out engage in another church. Consequently, of the young people who grow up in the Collegedale Church, this leaves a net result of 68% who drop out from church entirely. DeVries’ seminal work (2004), combined with Rainer and Rainer’s research (2008), demonstrate the potential of a significant increase in the retention of young people when the family and church family partner in discipling their young people. However, prior to the implementation of this project, there was very little partnership for discipleship occurring among the families and church family of the Collegedale Church. This segregation of teens from their families and church family was most distinct during the Friday evening youth ministry programming.

Method

The Friday evening youth ministry programming of the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists was transformed into an integrated approach to youth ministry. For the purpose of this project when the term integrated is used it is primarily referring to people’s age. Therefore, integrated youth ministry in this context means youth ministry being done in a setting where not only teens are present but also people who are not teenagers, especially adults. The transformation into an integrated youth ministry was accomplished by transitioning from a church-based youth worship service to home-based group Bible studies for teens. This transition process began during the 2003-2004 school year. The effectiveness of the transition to an integrated youth ministry was measured during the school years that followed, concluding with the 2008-2009 school year. Three approaches were used to measure the effectiveness of achieving an integrated youth ministry: 1) The number of adults involved in each setting was contrasted. 2) During the 2008 - 2009 school year, thirteen teens that seemed most invested in CAYA Community were selected in a nonrandom, purposeful manner and interviewed along with one of their parents. 3) An analysis was done of student responses to a survey question provided them at the conclusion of their interview.

Results

The contrast of the number of adults involved in each setting revealed a dramatic increase in adult participation in Friday evening youth ministry programming when the transition was made to the home-based Bible study program. In the church-based youth worship service approach there were no consistent, committed adults involved. However, the average adult involvement in the home-based group Bible study approach over five school years was 29 adults. The interviews and the survey questions also affirmed the effectiveness of using CAYA Community as an intervention to transition the Collegedale Church’s Friday evening youth ministry programming into an integrated approach to youth ministry.

Conclusions

Based on the contrast in the number of parents involved before and after this project, the interview findings, and the results of the survey question documented in this research report, it does seem that CAYA Community has helped to bridge the segregation of teens from their families and church family during the Friday evening youth ministry programming. Therefore, an overall evaluation is that CAYA Community has been effective in helping to bridge the segregation and serves well as an example of an integrated approach to youth ministry.

Subject Area

Church work with youth--Seventh-day Adventists; Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists (Collegedale, Tenn.)

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