Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award

2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Kleber D. Goncalves

Second Advisor

Bruce Bauer

Third Advisor

S. Joseph Kidder

Abstract

Problem

If not through the influx of Seventh-day Adventists from diverse countries and their missionary efforts, the membership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany would be stagnant. Most growing churches consist of people with migrant background and a large number of them conserve their native languages in their activities. Consequently, new approaches to reach the extremely secular indigenous population are rare, since the number of people who naturally have the potential to connect with them is rapidly declining. This downward spiral leads to an overaged Seventh-day Adventist church in Germany and seems to accelerate. Only very few millennials are active and committed in building and growing the church. The purpose of this dissertation is to develop, implement, and evaluate a holistic discipleship model for millennials in order to foster new leaders who will reproduce and multiply a missional lifestyle within their generation.

Method

This study aims at indigenous German-speaking male millennials affiliated to the Seventh-day Adventist church within the 18-30 age range. Through personal interviews and surveys, the participants' spiritual transformation is measured, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the designed process.

Results

Due to the small number of participants of the project, the collected quantitative data is not statistically valid. Yet, the qualitative data gives evidence that the developed holistic discipleship program had a positive spiritual impact on the millennials involved. Whereas the goal of multiplying leadership seems to require more time, other positive effects became visible in the lives of the participants, like a deepened relationship with God, a more intimate connection to other believers, and the motivation to witness about one's faith.

Conclusions

A holistic approach to discipleship, using a small group and a prolonged time-period, while establishing a close personal relationship between the leader and the participants, is not only biblical but also effective in promoting discipleship and spiritual growth within the millennial generation.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Germany; Discipling (Christianity); Church growth--Germany--Seventh-day Adventists; Church work with Generation X--Germany--Seventh-day Adventists; Central Rhenish Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Inter-European Division. South German Union Conference. Central Rhenish Conference

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