Professional Dissertations DMin
Creating a Mission-Focused Stewardship Plan for the Shiloh Bilingual French Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brooklyn, New York
Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
A review of administrative data reveals that Shiloh French Seventh-day Adventist Church has lost 25% of its members over the past 5 years, while only 15% joined by baptism. Most new members come from transfers and profession of faith. The purpose of the present work is to address the issue of lack of motivation to carry out the mission of the worldwide church by asking the following question: How can a mission-focused stewardship plan help church leaders and members refocus? --
Based on the context, theological reflection, and literature review, the initiative was presented in four phases: Mission-Focused Stewardship Sounding Board, Mission- Focused Stewardship Mindfulness Movement, Conducting Mission-Focused Stewardship Seminars, and Mission-Focused Stewardship Peer Support Groups/Mentoring. The implementation of those phases was done as follows. Forming a sounding board was the first phase to implement the project. A diverse group of 8 people was appointed—men, women, young adults, and senior people—to help me design, implement, and evaluate the project. The sounding board met to prepare a working plan with goals that related to specific attainments or understandings or to differing qualities of experience, and they typically involved two dimensions: challenge and commitment, which will be explained more in chapter 4. To have a better picture of what they were doing, the sounding board was exposed to few mission-focused stewardship practitioners so that they could assist better in the implementation of the project. Here are some topics that were developed in this series: servant leadership, how to pray effectively, the mission of the church, Natural Church Development (NCD), seeing Shiloh in context, theological foundation of mission-focused stewardship, ministering during a pandemic, reforming the spirituality of the church, church business, dynamics of congregational life, ongoing coaching, member retention, Maxlife (events dedicated to providing high quality seminars that add value to people’s lives), culture identity of the church, and church growth. The leaders involved in this project were very responsive and considered the process very meaningful to the health of the church and their personal spiritual growth. Fifty percent of the sounding board stated that NCD was new to them and so it was a blessing that they were a part of the project. After all the seminars were well presented, the sounding board was excited and eager to serve. Fliers were posted on social media and church bulletin boards to invite not only the sounding board, but also all the leaders of Shiloh Bilingual to participate. Phase two was about the mission-focused stewardship awareness movement. Through the questionnaire and interviews, they were able to measure their attitudes. Mission-focused stewardship or mindfulness movement is a strategy and a wake-up call to do mission. One hundred percent of the participants deemed the questions relevant. They believed that the questions revealed their weaknesses. Phase three was about conducting seminars. The same seminars mentioned above were presented to all the participants—leaders and members alike. Eighty-five percent of the participants testified that they gained valuable skills and knowledge from the seminars. Phase four was about small groups. The church was divided into five small groups. There were different age groups, as well as programs implemented for th One hundred percent of the small group members agreed that the small group gave them the opportunity to feel accepted and open up.
Every group was represented by a color. Group one was dark blue, group two was orange, group three was grey, group four was yellow, and group five was light blue. At all the tables, everyone noted that they believed in stewardship. The disparity arose when we came to the topic of gross pay and net pay. For the category entitled “systematically,” the numbers varied from very low in group 5 to very high in group 4. The groups had many similarities such as having more females than males and believing in stewardship. In all the groups, individuals paid tithe from the net rather than the gross. There were 33 females in the study and 17 males. All the participants in the study believed in the practice of stewardship. Sixteen of the 50 participants believed that tithe should be paid from the gross, while 37 out of 50 individuals paid tithe from the net. Four individuals out of 50 did not pay tithe systemically. After the implementation of the project, 85% of the participants were excited and expressed the fact that they were motivated to do ministry. The feedback was well received at a business meeting. To get a better result, I had to address the stewardship problems in a spirit of positive confrontation. I had to challenge the status quo to bring change and to use the resources that I had at my disposal. I had to bring innovation that could mobilize, motivate, and establish clear direction and vision. To be a transformational leader, one must advocate and orchestrate bold moves.
The report was exciting because there was so much learning involved and the participants were very enthusiastic about the project. Overall, it was a wonderful experience. It was also challenging because the journey was long, data collection was time consuming, the rubric for research had to be respected, and Covid changed the dynamics of the project. One-on-one conversation is essential. Much of the time, the real picture cannot be seen in a large group, but when you talk to individuals one-on-one, the vision is comprehended. A pastor’s work is successful with visitation. Without visitation, there is no personal contact. The best way to build a relationship and trust is through one-on-one conversations. The individual starts to feel comfortable and treats you like a member of the family. From the study we concluded that more people need to be educated on stewardship—both philosophy and practice. Stewardship has become a subject which is not welcomed. A lot of people do not want to talk or hear about stewardship. Once they hear the word stewardship, they think “money,” and in this society, there is never enough money. Some individuals have more than one job and work all types of shifts, yet there is still not enough money. This is where we educate about faith and the reason for our existence on this earth. They must know that they are travelers on this earth with a mission, and everything we do on this earth is for the greater goal of reaching the Promised Land. The only way to achieve this is to put God first in all that we do.
Christian stewardship; Shiloh Bilingual French Seventh-day Adventist Church
Thomas, Herode J., "Creating a Mission-Focused Stewardship Plan for the Shiloh Bilingual French Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brooklyn, New York" (2023). Professional Dissertations DMin. 777.
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