Project Documents

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Steve Willsey

Second Advisor

Daniel L. Graham

Third Advisor

Boubakar Sanou

Abstract

Problem

Many believers hunger for a deeper experience with Christ in their spiritual life, but do not know how to go about it. This discipleship and spirituality project was an attempt to discover a model that one could use to develop an authentic community in the ministry context of the researcher. Discipleship is a loving relationship with Christ in which the one whom He calls submits to His Lordship, and makes God’s purpose and glory the sole reason for being. In essence it is about total commitment to the Lordship of Christ, and cooperation with the Holy Spirit in His work of life transformation.

Method

The study had two basic sections that were administered in a session of one hour and 30 minutes each. The groups met for a total period of 16 weeks. The first section was called “Grace Moments.” These were selected biblical stories intended for use in the small groups. The second section was an experience-based Bible study designed to lead the participants into a deeper practical walk with God and to continue building their spiritual life habits. This study followed a relational model. That is, while content was important, the group facilitator would also be sensitive to other factors existing between the group members. Content should be lived out in a relational model. In this model, I advocated that for a small group to develop, become, and remain community, it needed to be a closed group. The group was closed after the second meeting. Rationale for a closed group was that community is built around openness and honesty.

Results

The program has initiated a discipleship process for creating authentic community at Amazing Grace Seventh-day Adventist Church in Johannesburg. The interview responses have indicated a notable spiritual growth among the participants. The average rating of the whole experience showed that most of the participants were very happy with the discipleship process and had spiritual growth during the exercise. The participants actually felt that they had been transformed into an authentic community with a deeper and growing spiritual life than before they engaged in the discipleship journey. This expectation has been largely met, as shown by what participants scored on their expectations from the community of Grace experience (87.2% rating average), and the measurement on effectiveness of the program in developing community among the group (88% average rating).

Subject Area

Discipling (Christianity); Spiritual life; Amazing Grace Seventh-day Adventist Church (Johannesburg, South Africa)

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/496

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