Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The validity of the Growing Disciples in Community model among adolescents in Seventh-day Adventist schools in North America
by Beagles, Kathleen, Ph.D., Andrews University, 2009, 139; 3458391
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose of the Study There is little empirical research about discipleship, and particularly discipleship and adolescents. An understanding of Christian discipleship might, however, be an antidote for a growing trend toward consumer mentality in the church, the effect of post-Christian culture on the home, and the departure of the younger generations from active church life, which are all seen as problems that face Western Christianity. The purpose of this study was to examine the validity of a discipleship model—Growing Disciples in Community.

Method A conceptual model of discipleship and discipling based on theology and social science theory is developed and tested for its validity. Using Amos 7, the theoretical model was tested using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modeling (SEM) with a large dataset of some 11,000 cases of adolescents attending private schools operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. The primary objective was to determine whether the theoretical covariance matrix is consistent with the empirical covariance matrix.

Results 1. The theoretical covariance matrix and the empirical covariance matrix were found to be consistent, which indicates that there is empirical support for the Growing Disciples in Community model. 2. There were found to be significant relationships (correlations) among the variables of the model. 3. The validity of the model was also found to be stable across demographic characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, grade levels, and even at-risk behaviors.

Conclusion The Growing Disciples in Community model includes concepts of connecting, understanding, and ministering, which are considered processes of personal discipleship. The model indicates that the discipling attitudes and behaviors of family, friends, Christian teachers, and the local congregation (equipping) help explain adolescents' responses to the indicators of personal discipleship.

Intergenerational connectedness with other Christians has a strong impact on adolescents' connecting with God and others, understanding and appreciating God's relationship with humanity, and ministering to and serving others around them. Intentional efforts within the local church to develop and strengthen healthy and appropriate intergenerational relationships will support and benefit the discipleship of all members, not only adolescents.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kijai, Jimmy, Thayer, O. Jane
Commitee: Burton, Larry, Grajales, Tevni
School: Andrews University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Michigan
Source: DAI-A 72/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Religious education, Spirituality
Keywords: Adolescents, Discipleship, Discipleship model, Discipling, Seventh-day Adventist, Structural equation modeling, Validating
Publication Number: 3458391
ISBN: 9781124702605
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