Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Luis Fernando Ortiz

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

Ronald Rojas



The Seventh-day Adventist church in the city of Las Tunas, Cuba, from 2000 to 2015 has suffered for the loss of the youth ages 18 to 35 years old. A pastoral study of the congregation revealed that 70% of the youth that were born between the years 1990 and 2000 abandoned the church, indicating that it´s services were irrelevant and the absence of younger people and lacked youth in the leadership of the church. The congregation of Las Tunas has been a church centered in the accomplishment of the mission, and focused on the expansion of the gospel in all the towns that comprise the municipality; however, it has failed in the retention of its youth.


This is a phenomenological study that embraces a very important practical sphere in ministerial work. The research project’s goal was the implementation of a strategy to retain youth at the Central Adventist Church of Las Tunas, Cuba. This strategy was designed for the retention of the youth in the church, involving them in areas of responsibility and leadership, offering the opportunity to transform youth into contributors rather than just spectators. In this manner, the young people could be able to see the church as a relevant place for them. The ministry was appointed “JAIM”, that in Spanish stands for “Young Adventists Involved in the Mission.” To begin, the researcher conducts a study of the theology of the youth retention in both the Old and New Testaments. Next, a study of contemporary literature is carried out, arguing the differences that exist between the different generations that currently live together in the church. In addition, it is mentioned what, according to specialists, the main causes that lead to the number of young people who today leave the church being in alarming numbers. Later, a general overview of the church of Las Tunas, and its locality, providing some characteristics of the congregation offering such as a brief historical review, what has been the work dynamic that the church used with young people in the past, and what it is the culture educational level of the congregation among others. Based on the information collected, the implementation of a strategy was proposed through a ministry focused on working with young people. Once the implementation stage was completed, an evaluation plan was prepared, developed through interviews and support group meetings. In addition, a comparison is established of the percentage of retention of young people that the church managed to have in previous years, in relation to the percentage of retention achieved, once the implementation is completed.


The church in Las Tunas, between the years 2000 to 2015, was undergoing a significant crisis in its history: It was not retaining young people ages 18 to 35 years old. But, once the strategy was implemented, the percent of young people that remained in the church increased from 30% to 91.4%. By September 2022, the church counts 63 young people in its membership. 70% are participating actively in JAIM ministry, whereas 15% participate sporadically, while maintaining a spiritual healthy life. The rest of them are young people already married and with children, which has prevented them from participating directly in the ministry. However, they have been involved in areas like counseling and mentorship of other young people that are still single and that are younger. Another result accomplished was the increase in the percentage of young people involved in church leadership, with figures that went from 2% to 23%. In addition to this, the young people felt the motivation to develop others youth ministries in the church: a prayer ministry called “Moving Mountains” and a music ministry called “Young Voices.” These ministries are directed by the young people of the church, some of whom were disconnected from the church and active spiritual life. A third result is that, due to the success of this ministry in the church of Las Tunas, JAIM has been proposed and agreed to be part of the work program of the Youth Ministry of the Cuban Union for the period 2023-2027.


The results obtained through this strategy in the church in Las Tunas reflect a high level of effectiveness in the retention of youth. This demonstrates that ministries that involve the youth in the leadership, discipleship and the mission of the church, can help them see the gospel as relevant to their lives and keep them active in the church. This strategy is a tool to effectively retain young people, that can be contextualize to other cultural contexts.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventist youth--Cuba--Tunas; Church work with youth--Cuba--Seventh-day Adventists; Central Adventist Church (Tunas, Cuba); Church membership--Cuba--Tunas