Dissertation Projects

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

Werner K. Vyhmeister

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

Alfonso Valenzuela

Abstract

Three questions guided the research: How has the Seventh-day Adventist Church grown in southern Mexico during the last sixteen years? What have been the factors that supported this growth? What elements could strengthen church growth in the Southern Union of Mexico? The average annual growth in the Southern Union, from 1985 to 1990, was 9.49 percent. From 1991 to 2000, the average growth was 4.05 percent. The average growth from 1985 to 2000 was 6.09 percent. Before attempting to identify factors that contributed to growth in the Southern Union, church growth was studied in the Bible, in the writings of Ellen G. White, and in the writings of contemporary church growth specialists. The literature agrees that the most important contributors to growth are the influence of the Holy Spirit, prayer programs, the preaching of the Word, growth cells, contagious spirituality among the members, human cooperation, and setting clear and specific goals. In short, to grow, a church must be healthy.

Twelve representative churches were surveyed. In these churches, 280 members filled out a written survey and fourteen pastors and elders were interviewed. The interviews suggested that the churches that grew the most are those that have a prayer program, display a contagious spirituality, hold evangelistic meetings, exercise Christian friendship, and are organized into small groups. Responses to the survey confirmed the same factors. In a multiple regression analysis, music was identified as the greatest (with 61 percent) contributor to church growth. The plan designed to strengthen the growth of the Southern Union of Seventh-day Adventists in Mexico involves a triangle: RIA. These letters stand for Reavivamiento (revival) of those factors already identified; integration (integration) of music into the church program; and coordinated action (action) of all three elements.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Mexico, South; Church growth--Seventh-day Adventists

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/577

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