A proposal for the discipling of new members through the baptismal class in the North Kivu Association in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Unpublished Thesis (DMin)
Wa-Mbaleka, Kaseraka Muthavaly
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The church growth in the North Kivu Association (NKA) has been challenged by an increasing rate of dropouts since the mid-1990s. Looking at the statistics of membership covering a period of twenty-four years, this study shows that in the first four years of the period under consideration there was a high accession of new members (46.1 percent) with a low rate of dropouts (4.2 percent). Coming to the four last years of that period, the total of dropouts increased to 15.5 percent, whereas the rate of accessions decreased to 23.6 percent of the total church membership. In this work, the introductory chapter gives an overview of the study with its methodology, which leads in turn to a suggestion of discipling new members through the baptismal class. Chapter 2 shows the geographical, social, and religious background for the project, and includes statistical data which looks at the church membership growth of NKA from 1980-2004. it contains interviews from retired pastors, church administrators, leaders, and church members, in order to find out the possible causes of the increasing apostasy. Chapter 3 gives a background of instruction to new believers using the NT model of Christ, to make disciples through small groups and by spending time with the disciples in devotion and study of God’s Word. The early Christian Church seems to have followed the patter (Acts 2:41-47) of staying together, studying the Word of God, and fellowshipping on a daily basis in small groups (house churches). Chapter 4 suggests a new approach of instructing new members by way of the baptismal class. This is the model of Jesus and the early church. This approach relies on a three-level baptismal class, through which a new believer will be led to the stature of a mature church member who will be ready to lead. It considers an appropriate curriculum of instruction for the new believer, the time he might spend in instruction in each level, and the integration into the fellowship of the church.
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