The influence of changes on historical standards in selected urban Seventh-Day Adventist churches in Kenya
Kesis, Rei Towet
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This study investigated the phenomenon of the influence of changes on historical standards in selected urban SDA Churches in Kenya. The problem was that the precipitating factors and implication of change in historical standards to the achievement of mission of urban SDA Churches in Kenya was unknown. The historical standards are gift of prophecy, health reform lifestyle and eschato-centric liturgy. The study involved issuing questionnaires in thirteen selected urban SDA congregations from the then eight ecclesiastical regions in Kenya. This was in order to give a more representative and balanced view of what was happening in the SDA Church in Kenya. The study further involved interviews with sixteen pastors, eight of them at the conference/field leadership and the other eight at the local church level. The pastors were identified from the eight ecclesiastical regions of the SDA Church. Data collected was eventually analysed using SPSS. The theoretical framework used in this study was developed from a combination of socio-cultural change and urbanization theories. The key arguments are that change is inevitable. Human societies are in groups and networks that regularly influence one another and urban areas are the epicentres of change. The focus was on urban congregations in Kenya viewed to influence one another and other churches. The study revealed that urban churches were strategic in initiating church programmes and were also influential to the extent that what happens in an urban church will soon spill over to other churches. This study has established some positive and negative developments. The study has identified key factors that precipitate changes occurring in historical standards. The study has assessed the influence of the changes on historical standards to the mission of the SDA Church and concluded that there is a steady negative influence. It is now determined that there is a relationship between the changes taking place in historical standards and the mission of the church. This study has contributed to knowledge a diagnostic procedure that serves as an early warning system when an urban church is drifting away from its mission. This procedure is very important because assessment of urban churches by what is just observed might be inaccurate because of invisible underlying factors. Assessment of the influence of changes on historical standards is a much more reliable analysis of church performance.