NOTE – it is Programs that were highlighted.
The SDA church has tons of programs that have been invented since I was
a little kid. I don’t know of any that have lasted very long and then discarded.
I imagine a whole group of persons will be employed to come up with some
4-color programs to run through the print shop and dispense to all churches.
Probably end up sitting in some church cupboard along with the rest of the
other program materials.
There is no “pill” for bad judgment. Treatment of choice is referral to a highly skilled therapist the likes of your profession.
Why would a leader choose to tie up valuable resources in formulating compliance committees when the offerings and tithes paying their salaries are expected to dwindle down because of members walking out the front door.
The problem with that kind of personalities is that they fall from the tree several times, and some of them do not ever learn the lesson. They call themselves “faithful.”
That was definitely not the reason I asked for my name to be removed. I love the people but I can’t agree to the SDA doctrines. They are not biblical.
Besides, is it proper for a church to ask for a lifelong commitment from its members (aka ‘baptismal vows’) to avoid coffee, tea, alcohol and meats that have been declared clean but that were forbidden in the OT? How about living in the real world interacting with non-Christians?
SDA doctrine has error in its DNA. This makes it difficult to extricate itself from it.
Clearly there is no interest in being honest about why so many people have left. Opening the can of worms of doctrine is something that they can’t/won’t deal with…to damaging to the brand. Willful ignorance seems to be the chosen way to deal with it, and just keep repeating the same old same old. The rank and file church members believe the party line, and that’s all that matters. As long as the faithful keep believing what they’re told, it certainly avoids a much bigger problem to deal with.
The answer seems to be a new program, a new outreach, etc. Then add a hefty dose of guilt to the mix to motivate the members to work harder to keep members in the church, or bring in a harvest.
Or sometimes they sort-of are. If you ignore Paul and try to be a Christian and still be a Jew.
Or sometimes they are based on a sophomoric/shallow/ inappropriately literal/ reading of the bible in English, usually in proof text form and drawing all the wrong conclusions.
Or sometimes the literal reading - as if from a history or science textbook - asks us to check our intellect at the door. Literal creation in 6 days ~10,000 years ago? Please. Worldwide flood? Please. Earth is the center of the universe? Please. (Oh wait, we did drop that one - I guess because the Catholics did as well.)
I don’t need to know what your current Biblical beliefs are.
Something I would suggest as a beginning point is this.
Use the Nicene Creed as a basis for a belief system.
In the Sunday church where I sing in the choir, I repeat the
Nicene Creed with the community of believers. Every Sunday
I see this as renewing my Baptismal vows each week.
And, sometimes as I leave church I will dot my forehead with
“blessed water” also as an act of renewal.
As one becomes introduced to various ways of understanding
what the Bible writers are REALLY saying one goes beyond
what one hears or reads in SDA church, but in my case, even
though I see some things different now, it makes me a better
SDA. I can entertain enjoyable thoughts, enjoyable practices
that most SDA communities do not provide, with my new
Christian and Jewish friends. [Yes, I enjoy welcoming the
Sabbath at a local Jewish Synagogue, singing Psalms, having
fun with Jewish holidays at the Rabbi’s house. Having
“communion” after service with the blessing of the grapejuice
and bread made with chocolate chips in the dough Friday nights.
I also enjoy the opening of Sabbath with the candle blessing. I
have been enjoying now for 6 years.]
Through my Sunday church I was invited to assist with a Bible
study and Eucharist service at my Apt. building on Monday
afternoons. Often I am the one providing the Communion
elements when my partner has to be away.
has any kind of study been done to determine which areas of the world see the highest rate of people leaving…i’ve sometimes wondered whether areas in the third world that see extremely high rates of baptisms also see huge numbers of people leaving…if this is happening, it would suggest that people aren’t being prepared well before taking the plunge, so to speak…
There exists in our faith community a palpably vile reality, and that is a covert distrust of love, i suspect because we have too firm chains around law and legalism. In my own family, the accusation that “preaching cookies” is the reason for the state of the church. I asked if he prefered sawdust and rocks unpalatable granola preaching. The answer was unsurprising, with condemnations of everyone, including homosexuals, drug addicts, adulterers, “cheap grace christians” and “antinomials”. Law, and law alone, no room for real love.
@webEd, correct splelling for Pastor Morris is Derek.
Do these statistics uphold @ajshep in his claim that mainstream Christian churches who ordain women experience a decline in membership? Or not?
My impression of the data I’ve read over time is that most main-stream (milktoast?) denominations are declining. Only the radicals are increasing and only in some cases.
Still, for each denomination the reasons may be similar but also unique and each denomination would be well served to clearly understand and face those reasons directly. And then do something about them. I don’t see the SDA church doing anything. Do you?
I attended a Sabbath afternoon pep rally at a local SDA church a few years back. Jay Gallimore was still Michigan Conference president, and I think Jim Howard had just been hired in from the corporate business world to work with his brother (Mark ?) and others to ramp up personal evangelism in Michigan.
All the ‘suits’ got up to deliver the new company mantra, and contact information was given for Jim Howard’s new department, for those wanting to get involved. Within a week or so, I tried to contact him/them, but with no success. About 5 years later, still no response.
Meanwhile, I’m sure the ‘suits’ have all met together to convert one another, and pray for one another, and politic with and for one another… many, many times over those years, as Jim Howard has moved up the SDA corporate ladder to the General Conference. (Maybe he’ll be a 2020 candidate for the next GC presidency, given his corporate background ?)
It has become harder and harder to take any career Adventist seriously in my universe. They live in another, esoteric one where they have apparently become comfortable playing puppet master over those beneath them… or not.
Maybe the SDA church could use a “Toto Department” to help expose the ‘leadership’ myths and level the field ?
I tried something similar once. I found the email addresses - published online - of a bunch officials at the CCC and the NAD and the GC and emailed them, asking questions about whatever was going on at the time in the church. I heard back from exactly none of them. No one note. Not one auto-response thanking me. It seems they don’t understand the concept of email any more than they did personal evangelism in your case.
I always chuckle when i read articles crowing that we are “fastest growing” church (not counting back door atrition, obviously) when in reality we are merely the slowest dyng.
What was the statistic recently (perhaps 5-10 years ago) citing half of our churches would close in the next few decades?
Somehow I dont believe God is impressed by our numbers, or claims, if we have failed love.
Cincerity, while I understand why that language is a problem; and I think that there are many complex issues here:
I’ll say that “work” is not such a bad prescription. What I mean by that is organizations who bring people in and help them get involved - find that they stay. When they work, they become deeply connected to the mission of the organization and align themselves with the organization’s goals and become invested in the organization. This is true if you are talking about a church, or a business, or any other type of endeavor.
I do think there are many reasons why people leave. The comments in this section highlight quite a few. But people stay because they become deeply involved and they eventually leave when they aren’t.
I understand your perspective on the word, “work”, and the importance of giving members a sense of “belonging” because of it. Nonetheless, if you look at TW’s total statement it doesn’t communicate what you are saying. If he meant something different than what it literally says…he needs someone professionally to pre-write his remarks and speeches.
This statistic is a world wide one, I believe. The mainstream are mostly NA churches, so do not have an overseas contingent.
But an analysis such as this would show they have lost even more. SDA membership in NA has shown slow growth, while the mainstream has shown marked decline. Loss of up to 50%. So they are really shrinking compared to SDA’s. They will become irrelevant shortly.
Allen, based upon the very faulty record keeping at many of the NA churches…it is nearly impossible to confirm SDA membership and to make the claim that any of us know for a fact how much the church is actually “growing” is a mute point. This is an issue in other parts of the world as well.
But, for the sake of argument…let’s say that this is so. Based upon recognition alone- who would be the most recognizable to the general public: LDS, JW, or SDA? It would be easy to say that if I did a quick poll amongst friends and family…it would be the LDS, followed by the JW’s, and then the SDAs.
Based upon this, I would say easily that SDA church is basically “irrelevant” because it simply isn’t recognized for its beliefs or impact upon anything. The only places that I know where this is not true is where there is an Adventist hospital.
In the Christian world…Adventism is a small fraction of it and largely unknown. It hasn’t really changed in my lifetime or yours.
Leaving the church does not always point to spiritual laziness. The one who left might be the one who has awakened and if you stayed because you are being loved, reconsider. Be present in the church for the sake of those who loved you but be be absent for the doctrines that are heresies.