Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Lawrence Schlack

Second Advisor

Dr. Dave Cowden

Third Advisor

Dr. James Petersen


Church growth continues to be a concern for religious sects. Writers on church growth hold that all the various ministries of the church must assist the church in accomplishing church growth.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not persons who had been students in the Adventist school system had greater probability of joining the church and staying in the church than those who did not attend an Adventist school but were from homes where at least one parent was a Seventh-day Adventist.

There were two dependent variables in the study: initial baptism to join the church and continued retention on the church books as a church member at the time of the study. There were five independent variables in the study: (a) amount of K-12 education, (b) church membership of the parents, (c) amount of education of the parents, (d) church involvement of the parents, and (e) whether or not a parent worked for the church.

The research involved collecting data from Adventist families in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Data were analyzed using chi square, Cramer's V, and logistic multiple regression. Major conclusions are: (a) students who attend all 12 grades in an Adventist school have approximately a 50% greater probability of joining and staying in the church, (b) there is no cumulative effect of the number of years of Adventist schooling on church joining, (c) there is a cumulative effect of the number of years of Adventist schooling on remaining in the church if the person joins, and (d) more college graduates tend to stay in the church than non-college graduates.

The study leads to suggestions for further research related to church growth and K-12 education, its applicability to other denominations, and implications for the viability of K-12 education in the Adventist church.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access