Denominational Persistence and Exit

Larry Burton (Teaching, Learning and 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 the Adventist church.  The study sample will be alumni of Adventist higher education in the North American Division and the West-Central Africa Division. The study will seek to develop an understanding of the factors and types of experiences that contributed to denominational persistence 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 time of the study.  This grounded theory study uses interviews as the primary data source for theory development. Data will be collected via 45-minute semi-structured interviews with approximately 100 participants.  Fifty (50) of the interviews will be funded by this grant proposal. An additional 25 interviews will be conducted by Professor Nwosu and her research assistants on the Babcock University campus.  The final 25 interviews will be conducted by Andrews University graduate 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.  The final theory developed from this study can be used to strengthen the systems of Adventist higher education within these two world divisions as HE personnel make decisions that impact the goal of increased denominational persistence among alumni.