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This study sought to discover what characteristics in congregations and in parents have a demonstrable effect on the long-term faith development of African-American Seventh-day Adventist college students. This paper is structured in three major sections. The first section describes the context and landscape of adolescents in the twenty-first century. It also provides a history of African Americans and Black Seventh-day Adventists in America. The second section investigates faith and spiritual development in late adolescence and the theological foundations upon which ministry to African Americans in late adolescence should be based.
The third and final section investigates ministry strategies that will help to foster long-term faith development in African-American Seventh-day Adventist college students. This section presents findings from the Soul Faith study, a qualitative study that interviewed ten African-American Seventh-day Adventist college students. Students reported four prominent ways that parents imparted faith in a way that had a lasting effect on them: family worship, prayer, encouraging students to make their own faith decisions, and modeling. Students reported that congregations that had a positive impact on their faith development were supportive and made them feel their presence was valued. This support was communicated through encouragement, respect, and attendance at youth events.
Congregants who modeled Christianity to the students also positively impacted them. Students were helped in their transition to college and in their faith development when they had people in the congregation who kept in contact with them after they left for college. Students especially appreciated knowing people were praying for them. It was difficult to find a church for those students who did not go to Seventh-day Adventist universities and were away from home. None of these students found a Seventh-day Adventist church where they regularly attended. Still, a majority of the respondents participated in regular spiritual practices.
Content Reader: Chapman Clark, PhD
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King, Andrea T., "Soul Faith: Examining College Transition and Faith in African-American Seventh-day Adventist College Students" (2011). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 44.