Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
The Seventh-day Adventist church is losing far too many of its young people. This trend is hurting the world-wide church, the local congregation, and individual families. Yet very little is being done about it! The purpose of this study is to address this issue and to specifically formulate a Strategic Plan for reclaiming inactive youth in the Trans-European Division (TED).
The TED territory is extensive, covering over thirty-five countries, therefore, a local pilot project was conducted. This involved identifying young people who the local church listed as inactive, or non-attending, and then contacting them with a questionnaire as a research tool. In the case of minors, consent was sought from parents or guardians. Two separate instruments were utilized, the first used as a discussion tool with focus groups of concerned parents, and the second as a questionnaire to hear from young people themselves. Although the interviews were conducted in one country the underlying trends are extrapolated for use at a local church level in all countries throughout the TED.
The young people interviewed have left for many reasons but the main identified issue was that they saw the church as being critical and uncaring. The peak age for becoming inactive was between 15-20 years of age. All who left still had a connection to the church through family and friends. All still saw themselves as Christian and fifty percent of the sample group felt that they would like to return one day. This gave cause for hope and was an important factor in creating a Strategic Plan for reclamation in the Trans-European Division.
The need for establishing youth friendly Churches of Refuge (CORe) was identified. Such churches would be intentional in both retaining and reclaiming youth. Family-based youth ministry as a partnership model would be a key concept of such churches. This resulted in a Strategic Plan with criteria and action steps that could be contextualized for use in any local church setting.
Church work with ex-church members--Seventh-day Adventists; Church work with youth--Seventh-day Adventists; Ex-church members--Seventh-day Adventists; Trans-European Division of Seventh-day Adventists
Tompkins, Paul David, "Bringing Home Our Adventist Prodigals: A Strategic Plan To Reclaim Youth in the Trans-European Division" (2009). Project Documents. 604.
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