Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Bruno Alberto Raso

Second Advisor

Jorge Luis Reyes Aguilar

Third Advisor

Ronald Rojas



A pastoral search revealed that a significant number of members lacked a solid spiritual life. Faced with this situation, it was considered necessary to promote growth in both spiritual life and spiritual intelligence.


As a measure to reverse this condition, it was decided to implement a discipleship process, in a small group format, with the aim of fostering spiritual development and generating positive change in the members of the church. The research design was pre-experimental, with pre- and post-evaluation and statistical tests applied to the same group of people. It was of this nature because a discipleship program was implemented to foster both spiritual life and spiritual intelligence to the same group of people. In the implementation process, topics related to disciples, spiritual life, barriers, and habits of spiritual growth were worked on in a small group format. Their values were evaluated before implementation and 9 months later a second measurement of the same measuring instruments was performed. In addition, a qualitative approach was carried out with open questions that complemented and enriched the quantitative data. The present research focused on spiritual growth through a process of discipleship in a small group format in a local church. In the theoretical framework, an analysis and study of various sources were conducted, including the Old and New Testament, the writings of Ellen G. White, and contemporary literature related to discipleship, spiritual growth, spiritual habits, and barriers to spiritual growth. Furthermore, a thorough examination of the modern day human being was carried out, applying the discipleship process through assessments and analysis of results to obtain a comprehensive and well-founded understanding of the subject matter.


The results of the t-test indicated that the mean for "Spiritual Life" before the intervention was 74.09, while the mean 9 months later was 77.00 points. The difference between pre- and post-test evaluation was statistically significant (p = .024). Regarding the second variable, the mean of "Spiritual Intelligence" before the intervention was 125.45, and the average obtained at the end of the implementation, 9 months later, was 134.73 points. Although this difference was not statistically significant, a trend towards significance (p = .07) can be highlighted. Because the "Spiritual Intelligence" instrument allows not only to calculate a general value of the construct but also particular values for each of the dimensions that compose it, the same Student's t-tests were computed to compare the pre- and post-scores of the factors "Development and Crisis" and "Deepening". It was observed that the mean of Factor 1 in the pre-instance had a value of 70.64 and a very close post-value of 71.82. This difference was not statistically significant (p = .215). For Factor 2, the mean value of the pre was 36.36 compared to the post value of 29.00, giving a stronger value to the tendency to significance (p = .074). This allows us to see that in Factor 1 there are no significant differences between the pre and the post. Factor 2 did show a closer approximation to significance, implying that in this aspect the implementation revealed a positive tendency to produce certain expected changes in the group. The qualitative evaluation, through open-ended questions, revealed an extremely positive assessment of the group, evidencing a noticeable change in their spiritual lives and in the consolidation of a more solid spiritual intelligence.


The nine-month application of the discipleship process to foster the spiritual life that has to do with the more practical and spiritual intelligence, which has to do with the cognitive; it has shown a significant change in "Spiritual Life" and a tendency toward statistical significance in "Spiritual Intelligence." Likewise, clear positive evaluations were seen through qualitative evaluation, through open questions to the group. It was concluded that the implementation turned out to be mostly effective and in line with expectations. Furthermore, it can be concluded that both "Spiritual Life" and "Spiritual Intelligence" can be developed, strengthened, and grown through intentional intervention. It is understood that the best environment to develop it is in the small group scheme, which has a positive impact on the group. According to the results obtained, it can be concluded that the process of discipleship for spiritual growth was significantly effective.

Subject Area

Discipling (Christianity); Spiritual life; Seventh-day Adventists