Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
S. Joseph Kidder
The pastoral team and church members observed that most teenagers at Reading West up to the age of 18 attended church with their parents. However, from 18 to 25 years, the pastoral team and church members saw a drop in their attendance. Many attended universities in other cities. However, Reading, being a university town, should have attracted more Adventist young adults from other churches, and the young adults of Reading West should have returned during university term breaks. Sadly, most did not. Instead, they either visited other churches following popular youth preachers, attended other churches with a contemporary style of worship, or did not attend church, while remaining in contact with the young adults they had grown up with in the church. In conversations with young adults, I learned that one factor was that the sermon presentations at Reading West did not connect with them both in the style of presentation or in the issues faced in their everyday lives.
To address this problem, I believed that a training course that educated adult lay preachers to consider the issues faced by young adults, the reasons sermons connected with young adults, how God communicates to people in the Bible, and why Jesus used parable stories, would allow them to communicate the gospel more effectively to the young adults. This would address young adults' needs in a creative and imaginative way and would allow them to be transformed spiritually. The project delivery would be made by using seminar presentations. The seminars were designed to engage the participants in discussion by drawing upon their respective life experiences.
The implementation of the project was a success in that the participants engaged in the discussion of the subject matter at hand and, drawing from their own life experiences, they were able to give examples and illustrations of the issues they faced when they were young adults. They compared their experiences with the cultural and social issues faced by contemporary young adults at Reading West. The task of preparing a sermon prior to the training and then revising the sermon following the training allowed them to implement and apply what they had learned during the seminar presentations. The success of the training was also measured by the engagement of the young adults who listened to their finished sermons and gave feedback. The success of the training project was also measured by the feedback of the participants to me that the training seminars were both engaging and informative.
In conclusion, because of this training program the adult lay preachers should have a deeper understanding of who the young adults are, the issues affecting their lives, and their needs. The adult lay preachers should also have an appreciation of who God is, his gracious attitude towards humanity and how he chooses to communicate with the human family. Consequently, the adult lay preachers should incorporate into their sermons a vision of God’s kingdom by exposing the young adults to the core experiences of Bible characters. Experiences that led the Bible characters to be transformed spiritually as examples of how young adults today can also make that choice for themselves. A training program can only provide the participants with the tools for the task at hand. Lay preachers, as any artist or craftsperson, must know what they are aiming to create and have the passion to do so. This passion is to take young adults on a spiritual journey that allows them to choose Jesus for themselves.
Lay preaching--England--Reading; Young adults; Laity--Seventh-day Adventists; Laity--Training of; Reading West Seventh-day Adventist Church (Reading, England); Church work with young adults
Thomas, Trevor A., "A Lay Preachers' Training Program at Reading West Adventist Church Focusing on Preaching that Connects with Second Generation Seventh-day Adventist Young Adults" (2023). Professional Dissertations DMin. 790.
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