Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Atilio R. Dupertius
Werner K. Vyhmeister
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Brazil Union territory (SBU) has become known for its quantitative growth. However, as one analyzes the population size of that region, the conclusion is that much more still needs to be done. Studies made by Christian Schwarz in several countries indicate that the number and quality of members may increase provided that certain biblical principles of church growth are implemented.
The research was done through extensive analysis of previous studies regarding church growth. Biblical perspectives, as well as existent literature on the development of churches, lay ministry, pastoral leadership, training, and strategic plans were considered. A church growth program was then elaborated to contribute specifically to the church development in the territory of the South Brazil Union.
Church development in the South Brazil Union is a great challenge. Our times and circumstances call for the definition of the objectives by which many congregations are doing their work and making the needed changes. There is need for a clear understanding of the role of the spiritual leader as a planner and trainer. Pastors cannot fulfill the mission by themselves, but the church is an integral body, where each member has privileges as well as responsibilities to use of their talents for ministry. The laity needs to be motivated and equipped in the identification and development of their individual spiritual gifts because an effective pastoral ministry demands the entire laity’s involvement in ministry, according to their gifts.
This program was developed as a result of analysis of studies on church development from different perspectives. These studies included the biblical perspective, the review of existent literature, as well as field surveys within the SBU territory. It is divided into two parts: the first involves theology and the fundamental principles of church growth. The second part describes the establishment and management of the program, together with the committees responsible for implementation and administration, worship, evangelism, and service to the community. The Church, established by Jesus, is called by God to be something very special: His presence in the community. However, each church in the SBU is supposed to determine the way by which to demonstrate such a presence. Therefore, this program was intended to help in the mobilization of the laity in different manners in the hope that it can, under a strong pastoral leadership, create an appropriate environment for the healthy growth, both vertically (toward God) and horizontally (toward people).
South Brazil Union of Seventh-day Adventists; Seventh-day Adventists--Brazil; Church growth--Brazil--Seventh-day Adventists
Filho, Jose Santos, "Programa de Crescimento da Igreja Para o Território da União Sul-Brasileira" (2004). Project Documents. 592.
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