Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
S. Joseph Kidder
Most churches in North America usually consider themselves as welcoming and friendly to guests and existing church members. However, they may excel in programs and ministries, but visitors evaluate many as uncaring and cold. During my 25 years of ministry, I personally have pastored three mid-sized Adventist churches where a constant number of guests confirmed the difference of perception. The inhospitality of the church deprives the guests and the new converts of the essential benefits for emotional and spiritual growth with a direct impact on the retention rate.
A community-based hospitality awareness and training program was developed and implemented in the Green Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Summer and Fall of 2020. Its main purpose was to encourage and inspire the church members to create a culture of welcoming based on a sense of community, with a positive impact on the integration and involvement of the guests and regular members. The project consisted of creating an Action Group for brainstorming, training, and planning. An awareness campaign was conducted with a sermon series about community, hospitality, and assimilation. Specific community-building activities and initiatives were suggested and implemented. Pre- and post-implementation surveys were created and administrated to assess the initial perception of the church's friendliness as well as to measure the impact of the intervention on the responders' attitude and commitment to change.
A session of training of all departments with an interest in hospitality and community took place. Every department and ministry were encouraged to develop a culture of welcome and create opportunities to foster community and a spirit of believing for guests and church members. A one-month awareness campaign was launched to invite all church attendees to be part of God's hospitality team and extend His welcome to all. The post-implementation survey confirmed the progress in knowledge, understanding, and commitment to prioritize welcome and connectiveness.
Developing and implementing a community-based hospitality project in the local church is fundamental to Christian life and church growth in a mobile, 21st century society. Even though a complete welcoming ministry takes time and elaborate planning, this awareness and training program proved effective in the Green Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. When applied, this project is proficient in helping churches create a culture of welcome and belonging.
Hospitality--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Friendship--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Green Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church (Green Bay, Wis.)
Naftanaila, Titus, "Developing and Implementing a Community-Based Hospitality Awareness and Training Program in the Green Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church" (2022). Professional Dissertations DMin. 762.
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