Project Documents

Date of Award

1987

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Garth Thompson

Second Advisor

Norman K. MIles

Third Advisor

Miroslav Kis

Abstract

In the Western world it is a great challenge for churches to reach secular persons. This is true especially for West Germany where only an almost insignificant percentage of the population attends church regularly. Traditional methods to win people for Christ usually focus on this small percentage of people instead of on the vast majority of the unchurched people. Reaching the unchurched is a situation in which the laymen of the church are of special importance, for they are able to be in touch with persons clergymen will almost never reach. Thus laymen need to have a larger sphere of influence in the proclamation of the gospel. They need opportunities to use their gifts. Moreover, new approaches must be developed to meet the needs of the secular mind.

One approach is the congregational evangelistic campaign, a campaign prepared and implemented by the lay congregation including the public proclamation by groups of laymen. An analysis of the practice of this type of approach in the Seventh-day Adventist churches in West Germany, by means of twenty-two completed questionnaires and several personal interviews, reveals the following facts: (1) Although there are some weaknesses, pastors and churches are generally enthusiastic about this type of approach. (2) The open style and the focus on every-day problems are attractive to the secular mind. (3) An important factor is the building of relationships among church members and visitors. (4) As a side effect the church is activated. (5) The gifts of laymen are enhanced.

Although congregational evangelistic campaigns were already being held in West Germany, it seemed significant to study the method more thoroughly and to develop a model. This model describes the preparation, implementation, follow-up, and evaluation of this kind of campaign. Variables affecting outcomes, the role of the pastor, and combinations of congregational evangelism with other programs are discussed. The model gives special emphasis to the preparation phase, which contains a training program for selected laymen. The stress on preparation is necessary to guarantee an effective implementation and follow-up. Although these campaigns use a somewhat uncommon approach, they are based on the biblical concept of evangelism. The advantages they have recommend them to be used more extensively.

Subject Area

Evangelistic work--Seventh-day Adventists--Germany (West); Seventh-day Adventists--Germany (West)

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/466

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