Denominational Persistence and Exit

Larry Burton (Teaching Learning Curriculum)

Denominational Persistence and Denominational Exit Among Adventist University Alumni

The purpose of this study is to identify the factors that contribute to an individual’s persistence in or exit from the Adventist church. The study sample will be alumni of Adventist higher education in the North American Division. The study will seek to develop an understanding of the factors and types of experiences that contributed to denominational persistence or denominational exit for graduates of Adventist colleges and universities. Denominational persistence describes those persons who were members of the Adventist church during their college years and remain members of the church at the current time, that is, at the time of the study. Denominational exit describes the experience of those persons who were members of the Adventist church during their college years but are no longer church members at the current time. The study follows a grounded theory design, using interviews as the data source for theory development. Data will be collected via 45-minute semi-structured interviews with approximately 60 participants.  Forty (40) of the interviews will be funded by this grant proposal. The other 20 interviews will be conducted by student researchers completing requirements for research courses or practical research experiences. Analysis will utilize constant-comparison methods, iterative coding cycles, memo writing, and visual representation of results. Findings from the study will be shared via presentations and publications such as articles and book chapters.  Findings will be of use to Adventist higher education administrators and other church leaders or member interested in the mission of Adventist education.

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