Date of Award
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
S. Joseph Kidder
Within our churches, North Port Seventh-day Adventist Church (North Port, Florida), Breath of Life Seventh-day Adventist Church (Fort Washington, Maryland), and Conyers Seventh-day Adventist Church (Conyers, Georgia), there is a real problem between adults and youth. There is a need to build intentional intergenerational relationships and to examine their effects on spiritual growth/development on both adults and youth. As the adults and the youth of our congregations begin intentional intergenerational relationships (building greater intergenerational bonding) with each other, I believe that greater spiritual growth will be realized by both. While there are relationships that have been developed between the adults and youth, there is the need for the adults and the youth to be intentional in strengthening each other spiritually. This potential has not been significantly realized. The real problem is a lack of healthy, intentional intergenerational relationships that nurture spiritual growth, and this deficiency consequently dampens their ability to form long-lasting intergenerational relationships.
A three- to five-month three-sermon series intervention was implemented at North Port Seventh-day Adventist Church (North Port, Florida), Breath of Life Seventh-day Adventist Church (Fort Washington, Maryland), and Conyers Seventh-day Adventist Church (Conyers, Georgia). The objective of the intervention was to build purposeful intergenerational relationships that nurture spiritual growth for both adults and youth. This intervention included four strategies: (a) Intergenerational Day, (b) pairing youth with adults in a mentoring relationship, (c) providing a prayer box in the congregation for the adults/youth who were paired together, and (d) asking adults and youth to be pew buddies (Consuegra 2018, 100). Using the 5-Point Likert Scale (Preedy and Watson 2010), an anonymous pre-survey questionnaire was administered after each sermon presentation and an anonymous post-survey after the implementation of the strategies. The post-survey was given at the end, five months after the first sermon in June, in order to ascertain what impact, if any, this research had on each congregation. In addition, the data was evaluated as collective participation for adults and youth, rather than as individuals.
The study indicated that the intervention was well received. All three congregations participated in the anonymous pre-survey. The congregations appreciated the presentations, the research information, and the strategies outlined. It was particularly reassuring to me that they were amazed that the youth identified relationships as central to communities and that they valued intergenerational relationships within their own families, as well as beyond their own families. Both adults and youth resonated with the information presented on loneliness. This was noted particularly in that many felt the reality of this truth, that although our congregations may be filled with many people, many have no one with whom they can become vulnerable and trust, the information they shared would not be used against them. They understood that if they accepted being intentional about having intergenerational relationships in our congregations, it would be advantageous. I was encouraged that the information researched and presented was seen and embraced as being necessary for the growth and development of our congregations, as expressed by many. Only Breath of Life Seventh-day Adventist Church participated in the post-survey. Nineteen post-survey responses were gathered to make assessments. This church wants to continue implementing the strategies outlined in this study.
Based on the results of this study for the anonymous pre-survey, the three-sermon series was well received. The congregations looked forward to the implementation of the four strategies already explained in the method of this study. The information was seen as key in building intentional intergenerational relationships that are lasting and in seeing how these relationships affected spiritual development. I am appreciative of the participation of all the congregations in this project and had hoped that all the congregations could have taken part in the post-survey. Each church board approved this study and understood what was required. I followed up with the pastors of the two congregations that did not take the post-survey. Both pastors were satisfied with the pre-survey results and did not wish to follow through with the implementation of the strategies to complete the post-survey. The results from the congregation that participated in the post-survey indicated a large level of fulfillment regarding the strategies and the ongoing need for this intervention to continue. This congregation showed that they were very satisfied with the biblical goal that spiritual faith is passed down from generation to generation. They believed that it was important for them to know someone was praying for them. They generally agreed that Intergenerational Day would be a quality experience for them. There was a general weakness in the results in relation to communication between the adults and youth who were paired up, but there was a general desire to continue the relationship. This general weakness shows the need for intentional intergenerational relationships. This study was designed to have both adults and youth have healthy intentional intergenerational relationships that nurture spiritual growth. The results showed that the Breath of Life Seventh-day Adventist Church is willing to continue building intergenerational relationships that nurture spiritual growth.
Intergenerational relations--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Intergenerational communication--Religious aspects-- Seventh-day Adventists; North Port Seventh-day Adventist Church (North Port, Fla.); Breath of Life Seventh-day Adventist Church (Fort Washington, Md.); Conyers Seventh-day Adventist Church (Conyers, Ga.)
Wilson, Paul David Lincoln, "Building Intergenerational Relationships with Mutual Benefits at North Port Seventh-day Adventist Church, Breath of Life Seventh-day Adventist Church, and Conyers Seventh-day Adventist Church" (2023). Professional Dissertations DMin. 792.
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