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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Describing the assimilation experiences of new converts: A phenomenological study
by Attebery, Philip W., Ph.D., Dallas Baptist University, 2014, 245; 3666453
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of the current phenomenological research was to explore the assimilation experiences of adult new converts into churches affiliated with the Baptist Missionary Association of America in order to help ministerial leaders understand what new converts experienced at conversion, looked forward to, or resisted regarding their assimilations. The researcher interviewed 28 participants representing seven BMA churches located in the Ark-La-Tex region of the southern United States. Participants included 21 new converts, baptized within the past one to three years, and a leading staff member from each church. The researcher recorded and transcribed interviews, separated excerpts from the interviews into categories, analyzed the data, and determined common themes from the data. Nineteen findings resulted from the study. New converts described their experiences of conversion, what they anticipated or resisted regarding retention and spiritual growth, the effect of church assimilation strategies, and how ministerial leaders might benefit from their experiences. Findings included the proximity of conversion to major life events, the eagerness of converts to join a family-like fellowship, acknowledgment of particular fears regarding baptism, contrasting views between converts and leaders regarding how converts learn what to do next, inability to describe intentional assimilation processes, and the importance of available leaders to assist new converts. The researcher determined 14 conclusions that resulted in eight recommendations for churches and church leaders and 14 recommendations for future researchers. The researcher attempted to fill a gap in knowledge by seeking the input of new converts regarding assimilation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hedin, Norma
Commitee: Kavli, Suzanne, Matos, Joseph
School: Dallas Baptist University
Department: Gary Cook Graduate School of Leadership
School Location: United States -- Texas
Source: DAI-A 76/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clerical studies, Theology, Spirituality
Keywords: Assimilation, Baptist, Church membership, Discipleship, New convert, Spiritual formation
Publication Number: 3666453
ISBN: 978-1-321-39479-5
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