Awarding Institution

Andrews University (Avondale)

Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (Theology) MA(Theol)


Arts & Theology


Ministry and Theology

First Advisor

Arthur N. Patrick


Problem: One of the greatest problems facing the church today is inadequate incorporation of the believer into the Body of Christ. Too much emphasis has been placed by the church's evangelistic outreach on getting a decision or on indoctrination. Once the individual has been converted and baptised it is easy to think that the new believer "has arrived." This results in a lack of follow up and incorporation, with some new believers never becoming an active participant within the community. It was the purpose of this study to research and discover better ways to facilitate the incorporation of the believer into the Body of Christ.

Method: The areas of sociology, New Testament, church growth and evangelism were researched and appropriate material was included in this study. A group made up of twelve members was part of an incorporation programme. A four-week programme was designed to encourage interpersonal relations and to deal with the problems new members face. This group was structured to be an experience of acceptance, belonging and growth, thus in the process helping the members with incorporation.

Results: During the time spent together the members of the group began relating to one another in a personal manner. Problems faced by new members were highlighted within the group and opportunities were given for members of the group to minister to each other. In effect, the members were being incorporated into the Body of Christ within the small group.

Conclusions: In order for the incorporation to take place the needs of the individual ought to be met, and a balanced approach to the cognitive, behavioural, relational dimensions and worship must be encouraged. Unless one ensures the balanced development of all these dimensions there will be a corresponding lack of incorporation


Dissertation: Thesis (M.A.)

Andrews University, School of Graduate Studies, Avondale Campus, 1982.

Published with permission from Andrews University.

Staff and Students of Avondale College may access a print copy of this thesis from Avondale College Library (253.7 V35).

Every effort has been made to contact the author of this thesis to gain their permission. If the author objects to this thesis being online please email

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