Project Documents

Date of Award

2002

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Second Advisor

Alfonso Valenzuela

Third Advisor

Nancy Jean Vyhmeister

Abstract

The goal of the Gospel Commission is to make disciples, not only to baptize them. Making a disciple out of a new convert requires the participation of the pastor and of mature church members. This results in the design and implementation of a program to retain members. The Bible emphasizes the retention of church members, using different Greek terms. The most common is mend. The Bible also presents examples of church leaders who affirmed the believers. Ellen G. White asks members and pastors to retain those who are new in the church. She suggests different methods. She speaks of the responsibility of the pastor, of friendship, of missionary service, of the part that worship services and programs play in The goal of the Gospel Commission is to make disciples, not only to baptize them. Making a disciple out of a new convert requires the participation of the pastor and of mature church members. This results in the design and implementation of a program to retain members. The Bible emphasizes the retention of church members, using different Greek terms. The most common is mend. The Bible also presents examples of church leaders who affirmed the believers. Ellen G. White asks members and pastors to retain those who are new in the church. She suggests different methods. She speaks of the responsibility of the pastor, of friendship, of missionary service, of the part that worship services and programs play in keeping members, and of the usefulness of small groups.

The study done among members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church of Pueblo Nuevo, Solistahuacan, Chiapas, showed that the apostasy rate is high: from 1990 through 1999, 65.97 percent of the number baptized during the same period left the church. The study also showed the reasons why members leave the church: poor devotional life, lack of friendship with other members, lack of pastoral visitation, conflicts among church members, personal sins, and a lack of adaptation to the Adventist lifestyle. An analysis of the literature indicates that the reasons for apostasy relate to church life rather than to doctrine. Other authors note the same reasons for apostasy as those given in Pueblo Nuevo. On the basis of the research done, the following retention strategies are recommended:

1. Instruct a group of lay leaders during four weeks so that they may teach the families of the church to maintain a healthy devotional life. These instructors will each take a group of members and show them how to have family worship and how to study the Bible systematically. After two cycles in one year, the plan should be evaluated.

2. Organize a visitation program by the pastor and local lay leaders. This program will include visiting the families of all the churches in the district. The pastor can multiply himself through the lay leaders.

3. Include in the church year special weeks to foster good relations among members (Friendship Weeks), during which nearby churches are included in the activities. These programs may be directed by the youth, by Sabbath School leaders, or by social activities leaders.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Chiapas (Mexico)--Solistahuacán; Church growth--Seventh-day Adventists

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/487

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