Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
The Ebenezer Seventh-day Adventist Church of Greenville, North Carolina, was organized 33 years ago and is located on the periphery of Pitt County. In the past five years, the church has baptized 27 people; however, 15 of them are currently missing. As a result, growth has been inconsistent and members have become concerned about the growth of God’s kingdom. A possible factor in this situation is the lack of a structure to retain members after baptism. The Gethsemane Seventh-day Adventist church in 2013 held an evangelistic meeting in which 15 people were baptized. Only one person from the 15 is still a member of the church today. This is due to lack of a retention strategy at the church.
A three-method approach was used for retention at each church. This three-step strategy was discipleship classes, church involvement, and mentorship. Even though they varied in church and approach, our discipleship classes used weekly lessons on selected doctrines and church history. As pertains to church involvement, we attempted to assess each new member's spiritual gift and place the individual in a ministry that complemented the gift. Our mentor program attempted to provide intentional fellowship by assigning older members with new members.
At the end of the project, 11 new members signed up to be part of my project; seven of them were actually retained. Church involvement and a discipleship class were the top two major influences that helped in retention. However, due to the lack of new members baptized and participation and challenges in organizing the project from a leadership prospective, I cannot say that this is the absolute method that should be used, but is only a reflection of my personal experience.
This study does show that a structured environment, member involvement, and planning is important in retention. It also shows that retention is a holistic approach that commences even before the acquisition of the first new member is attempted. Therefore, leadership, consistency, and support are critical when they pertain to retention.
New church members--North Carolina; Ebenezer Seventh-day Adventist Church (Greenville, N.C.); Gethsemane Seventh-day Adventist Church (Kinston, N.C.); Church work with new church members--Seventh-day Adventists
Woodard, Keith, "Strategies for Retention of New Members in the Ebenezer and Gethsemane Seventh-day Adventist Churches" (2018). Professional Dissertations DMin. 716.
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