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

Nancy Jean Vyhmeister

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

Werner K. Vyhmeister

Abstract

Fulfilling the gospel commission brings as a result the incorporation of new members into the church. Yet a large number of them do not remain in the faith. The purpose of this dissertation was to discover the reasons why some members leave the church in the Dominican Republic, and to elaborate a plan to retain these members.

The Bible shows God's interest in establishing a close and permanent relationship with His children. The creation of man after God's image, the tree of life in the garden of Eden, the covenants made afterwards, the teaching of Jesus, and the emphasis the early church placed on holding the new members show the biblical interest in retaining believers in the Christian community. Early in the history of the Adventist Church, apostasies occurred. Ellen G. White and other contemporary authors wrote about this subject and made some suggestions about retaining members in the church.

Surveys made in Santo Domingo show that church leaders, active members, and persons who left the church are aware of the problem and indicate the need of a longer permanence of the members in the church. Statistics point out that among Adventists in the Dominican Republic, apostasy in the year 2000 reached 55 percent of the baptisms for that year. The investigation indicates that a better preparation for baptismal candidates, greater attention to the new believers, a revitalization of the church programs, and a balanced spiritual diet are key elements in order to accomplish greater retention in the church.

On the basis of the information gathered, a plan was designed for and implemented in the Sinai Church, in Santo Domingo. This plan included training for new members, spiritual supervision, small group participation, and a better balanced church program. The results after six months showed that such a program improved church attendance, participation, and offerings.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Dominican Republic; Ex-church members--Seventh-day Adventists; Church work with ex-church members--Seventh-day Adventists

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/526

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