Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Willie Hucks, II

Second Advisor

Joseph Kidder

Third Advisor

Trevor O'Reggio

Abstract

Problem

In spite of an annual growth in membership, a significant number of Seventh-day Adventists in La Bayee and Vieux Fort are not engaged in personal evangelism. Although the members reported that they have a good relationship with Christ, one does not see the evidence of spiritual transformation that is expected of the believers (National Church Development, 2009). Neither is there the type of penetration of the Gospel in the work place, neighborhood, among friends and associate as it should be. Several attempts were made to address the problem but to no avail. The current state of things in the churches in St Lucia indicates that the traditional approach, with its heavy emphasis on programs, is inadequate to produce the type of spiritual transformation and missional passion that God expects of His church. There was therefore a need for a more holistic discipleship pathway to prompt members' transformation and involvement in mission. The aim of this study is to develop a Christ-centred discipleship process which intentionally would help members to re-connect with God and consequently lead them and position the church for the fulfilment of the Great Commission.

Method

Consequently, a discipleship process implemented in two 12-week periods was developed and introduced in Vieux Fort and La Bayee Seventh-day Adventist Churches. The purpose was four-fold: (a) to connect members to Christ through biblical spiritual discipline, (b) help them experience transformation, (c) to prompt consistent involvement in ministry and mission, (d) and to have churches that are re-oriented to promote and support mission. An experiential learning model of discipleship was used which allowed participants to grow in their relation with God as they engaged in prayer, Bible study, obedience, commitment to imitate Christ, and then joining Him in the work of discipling others for the kingdom. Much of this growth experience was engendered in small group settings within the context of the church. The use of spiritual discipline, connecting relationship, peer mentoring, modelling, evangelism training, and community engagement prompted many to engage in ministry and mission. The discipleship process involved a 12-week training period, where participants met twice per week for two hours per session. These sessions were divided into a day for instructions and the other for field work. Instructions are divided into four categories: Relationship with God and others; Evangelism training and deployment, involvement in ministry and mission, church culture and supporting structures. The discipleship process was assessed through interviews and surveys. There were pre- and post-study interviews, pre- and post-study surveys, and quarterly interim surveys with all participants. There were also pre- and post-study interviews with the church boards, and youth focused groups. -

Results

Sixty-seven participants enrolled in the study, all completed the 12-week training process and put into practice what they had learned for the duration of the study. At the end of the study, all participants indicated that they had matured spiritually, and had intentionally engaged in evangelism. Results showed that the discipleship process helped participants to: deepen their relationship with others, experienced a greater frequency at their church services, renewed their devotion to God, experienced transformation, sought to live within the will of God, and actively serve and witness to others. The initial challenge of the participants was a lack of passion for Christ and experiential involvement in mission. The goal of the discipleship process was to structure space for the Holy Spirit to bring about transformation in the lives of individuals, resulting in more engagement in mission. This transformation was realized and witnessed in the participants' lives. Participants reported experiencing greater intimacy with Christ and others, and became passionately involved in mission as a result of engagement in the study. --

Conclusions

This project demonstrates that when local church leaders intentionally disciple members, there will be renewed devotional to Christ, transformation of character, and greater participation in the mission of Christ. As members learn about Christ, and imitate Him; they learn how to disciple others in the same way He did. This finding suggests that intentional implementation of a Christ-centred discipleship curriculum in the local church will have a positive impact on the devotional life, character and missional involvement of church member.

Subject Area

Discipling (Christianity); Evangelistic work--Saint Lucia--Seventh-day Adventists; Seventh-day Adventists--Saint Lucia

Creative Commons License

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

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