Dissertation Projects DMin

Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Bruce Campbell Moyer

Second Advisor

Richard Davidson

Third Advisor

Skip Bell

Abstract

Problem

Many Jewish people are finding Jesus as their Messiah, but few are uniting with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In its Global Missions emphasis, the Adventist Church has not prepared church members to effectively witness to the Jewish people. Michigan Conference has about 0.29 percent (16,000) of the nation’s Jewish population, but no organized plan is in place to train members for Jewish soul-winning. Approximately 22 of Michigan’s 83 counties have one or more synagogues, which is sufficient Jewish presence to warrant an interfaith outreach. A lay-training program is needed.

Method

After researching literature, a questionnaire was devised, and a sociological survey was conducted on a sample group of Seventh-day Adventists in Michigan. Results were compared with data from three Adventist focus groups. From the information, a tentative guide-manual was constructed for conducting Jewish Awareness Seminars. Two pilot lay-training seminars were held to sensitize, educate, equip, and empower Adventists for sharing their faith with Jewish neighbors. Results were used to refine a final guide-manual. Related historical and theological issues were addressed in the completed document.

Results

The analysis of the surveys indicated that Adventists had stereotypical perceptions of Jewish people, but that they were willing to be taught and equipped for an intelligent and effective ministry to Jews. The information from the seminar assessments and evaluations indicated that all participants greatly increased their knowledge of and sensitivity toward Jewish neighbors. Attitudes were changed in support of Jewish outreach. Approximately 85 people were educated and equipped for ministry. Follow-up suggestions were recommended. Shabbat Shalom subscriptions were funded and sent to many Jewish homes in each community. Michigan now has a written guide-manual to help local congregations reproduce the training seminars.

Conclusions

Attitudes of Michigan Adventists toward Jewish people are generally influenced by lack of familiarity, ignorance, or stereotypes. Due to theological and professional concerns, the clergy seems less open to Jewish outreach than is the laity. Consequently, pastoral and lay training seminars are needed to assure the perpetuation of a viable ministry. This study has been successful in showing that the laity is willing to reach Jewish souls, when adequately prepared.

Subject Area

Missions to Jews; Christianity and other religions--Judaism

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

DOI

https:dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/666

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