Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Nancy J. Vyhmeister
Werner K. Vyhmeister
Inactive and uninterested members are common in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the North Tamil Conference. They are the aching, anxious persons who have great difficulty in living in anxiety-provoking settings. The church, if it is going to be an effective instrument to its own membership, needs to be sensitive to what is going on in the life of its members. This presents a problem because the members are ill-equipped for the task. In this study a theological basis for equipping laity was developed. Interviews with pastors and both active and inactive members in the local church and study from the church growth literature were used to describe the need for ministry to the inactive members and to ensure the training of active members. Considering the kind of trainers, trainees, goals and objectives, and adult education methods as essential factors, a training program was developed to equip laity. The training program was implemented in the local church at Vellore, providing hands-on experience for the task.
The result of the theological study for equipping laity showed the ministerial nature of laity and God's provision of the Holy Spirit and pastors as equippers. God's design for lay ministry suggests lay training as vital for effective ministry. The results of the study on inactive members showed various anxiety-provoking, conflict situations in and out of the church. Sociological issues, institutional church-oriented issues, and decline in personal spirituality were identified as contributing to attrition. As a result of unresolved conflicts some inactive members suffer feelings of anxiety, anger, guilt, shame, and a sense of loss. They cry for a response from the church. The active members are called to be sensitive to what occurs in the life of the inactive members and accept their ministerial responsibility in resolving their conflicts.
This study determined four major areas of training active members for the task: the status of the inactive member and the responsibility of the laity, developing a genuine love for the lost, interpersonal communication skills, and methods of contacting. Twelve active members were trained in the four major areas during the twelve sessions scheduled on four Sabbath afternoons. Trainers, from within and without the church, contributed to clergy- laity team ministry in the training program. In being equipped for ministry, the laity's potential for ministry was realized and utilized. They were spiritually strengthened by accepting their ministerial responsibility. The clergy-laity team ministry changed the attitude of both active and inactive members. Five lost members were restored through a caring ministry. The pastor's skill in equipping was sharpened. The ministry of restoration developed in this study will contribute to the spiritual health of the Body of Christ.
Church work with ex-church members--Seventh-day Adventists; Seventh-day Adventists--India--Tamil Nadu; Laity--Seventh-day Adventists--Training of
Masillamony, Paulraj, "Training Laity to Minister to Inactive Members in the North Tamil Conference" (2000). Project Documents. 507.
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