Project Documents

Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Eich Baumgartner

Second Advisor

R. Clifford Jones

Third Advisor

James J. North

Abstract

This study attempted to identify the reasons why new members stop attending church one to six months after they are accepted into membership of the Caffin Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church and to find ways to reduce the number of individuals who drop out. The introduction analyzes the biblical and theological basis for a higher retention of new converts. It considers principles found in the book of Acts and concerns for lost membership. A review of relevant literature on the assimilation of new members was done to provide an overview of the problem and to gain insights into reducing the number of dropouts.

For this study, ten established members were selected to be trained as mentors with the intention that they would develop the skill and commitment necessary to help train other established members as leaders in the assimilation training program within the Caffin Avenue Church. Ten new members were also selected as participants in this study. Two manuals were prepared for this training: one for training established members and one for training new members. The loss of 50 percent of the new members in the Caffin Church over a ten-year period necessitated this study. Between 1989-1999, 515 new members joined the church: 437 non-Adventist, and 30 Adventist children by baptism, 15 persons by profession of faith, and 33 by letters of transfer from other SDA churches. Church records show that 288 of these 515 persons have stopped attending or no longer consider themselves members.

The assimilation program was a thirteen-week process with two components: (1) a mentor training program and (2) a new-members class. The mentors were enlisted, trained, and supervised as they provided assistance to new members. The new-members class consisted of four sessions during the Sabbath School hour on Sabbath mornings. The assimilation of new members is tentatively evaluated through reports from the mentors and closing interviews with the new members. While the process for this project has been fully developed and tested, long-term results are not yet available. Hopefully, the process will greatly reduce the number of new members who terminate their membership or who simply stop attending the Caffin Church.

Subject Area

Caffin Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church (New Orleans, La.); New church members; Church work with new church members--Seventh-day Adventists

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/465

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