Project Documents

Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Gorden Doss

Second Advisor

Trevor O'Reggio

Third Advisor

Russell Staples

Abstract

Problem

Seventh-day Adventists first reached the French colony of Cote d’Ivoire around 1920. In 1946 the Church was organized with only 17 members. By 1985, the membership was 2,057 and in 2000, there were 7,215 members. By comparison, the Methodist Church of Cote d’Ivoire was established in 1924 and in 2000 had 1,350,000 members. Both Seventh-day Adventists and Methodists have conducted with mission in the same context where 20.8 percent of the population was Roman Catholic in 2000, Muslims represented 38.7 percent, and the French cultural influence was strong. Yet, Seventh-day Adventists have experienced a much slower church growth than have the Methodists in Cote d’Ivoire and Seventh-day Adventist in other African nations. The lack of good quantitative growth suggests a need for more qualitative and spiritual growth.

Method

This dissertation addresses the causes of the slow growth of the expansion of the Adventist Church in Cote d’Ivoire. To achieve the objective, the following procedure was taken: Scriptures were studied to lay down the raison d’etre of church growth. The writings of E. G. White were consulted for her experience and appropriate application was made to Cote d’Ivoire. Information about Methodists came from the Conference of the United Methodist Church in Cote d’Ivoire. Statistical information on church growth was provided from the former West Africa Union, the Sahel Union, Cote d’Ivoire’s local Conference and the annual statistical report of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. A comparison was made with the United Methodist Church to identify potentially helpful perspectives and strategies for the Adventist Church in Cote d’Ivoire. My personal opinion as an Ivorian and as one of the first national administrators was also utilized.

Results

The studies have revealed the following causes of slow growth: failure to follow holistic missiology, failure to grasp the opportunity left by William Wade Harris, communication problems, failure to meet challenges of French secularism, Islam and animism, failure to make religion a family matter, lack of personal evangelism, leadership instability, legalism, fanatism, and exclusivism.

Conclusions

This study was made to show the growth struggle and to challenge the Seventh- day Adventist Church in Cote d’Ivoire about its responsibility toward the Great Commission. The research ends by proposing a strategy to enhance growth, both qualitative and quantitative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cote d’Ivoire.

Subject Area

Church growth--Cote d'Ivoire--Seventh-day Adventists; Church growth--Cote d'Ivoire--United Methodist Church; Church growth|zCote d'Ivoire|vComparative studies d Seventh-day Adventists--Cote d'Ivoire; United Methodist Church--Cote d'Ivoire

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/620

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