Dissertation Projects

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Jorge Mayer

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

Ronald Costa

Abstract

Problem

The purpose of this study was to analyze the results of a training program for the new believers of the Allegheny West Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The AWC was established in 1967, and for more than 30 years there was no Hispanic presence throughout its vast territory that covers almost four states. When they managed to establish some Hispanic groups of believers, it was neither because of soul winning, nor because of a clear established witnessing plan, nor a large evangelistic effort or a strategic evangelistic plan to reach a new area. The records indicate that most of these groups were established by Adventists who simply moved from elsewhere.

Methodology

The following study researched the biblical foundations that support the training of believers for witnessing. Principles and counsel by Ellen White were analyzed in reference to the involvement of every believer in the art of witnessing for Christ. In addition, a study was conducted in contemporary literature that studies and recommends how a new believer can and should be involved quickly in witnessing as part of their new life in Christ. Also, a theorical and practical training was developed for the new believers of the AWC. This program was implemented in all the preaching centers of this Conference for a period of one year, although results were collected for four years just to gather more information for a better implementation of this program in the future. Later on, the program was analyzed and evaluated to reach conclusions that would help us better understand the results of implementing a deliberate program of spiritual growth and the active participation of new believers in witnessing.

Results and Conclusion

The implementation of the training program for new believers was completed in December of 2013. The program succeeded in tripling the membership of the Hispanics in AWC, seven new congregations were planted and the tithe increased significantly. During this period, more than 200 new believers received training and were subsequently involved in many leadership positions at the local churches. Because of this training program, the small groups became active and vital in all the local churches. The church growth program implemented in AWC confirmed the importance of instructing all new believers on how to be better witnesses of Christ. Besides, the program shed light as to what would be the factors that might encourage more steady growth at the local churches, especially in places with lack of leadership. The results observed regarding the training program for newly baptized in AWC confirmed the importance of not discarding any human being. Anyone surrendered to Christ, trained and enabled, can continue the work that He himself entrusted to his twelve apprentices more than 2,000 years ago.

Subject Area

New church members--Training of; Church work with new church members--Seventh-day Adventists; Allegheny West Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; Hispanic American Seventh-day Adventists; Discipling (Christianity)

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/491

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