Headlines: Where Some Denominations Are Shrinking, Adventism Grows


(Spectrumbot) #1

Where Some Denominations Are Shrinking, Adventism Grows. The Lancaster Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church in Pennsylvania is buying St. Luke’s United Church of Christ. While some mainline denominations are facing declining membership in large cities, Adventist congregations are growing.  In its new location, the Lancaster Church congregation plans to help the poor and to hold evangelistic meetings. From Lancaster Online, "The Changing Face of Urban Churches."

Wheelchair-bound 98-year-old Baptized as Adventist. Wheelchair-bound 98-year-old Henry Combs was recently baptized into the Adventist church. After his wife died two years ago, Combs started studying the Bible, desiring to see his wife in heaven. During his career, Combs designed airplanes like the U-2 and the SR-71 Blackbird. From The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, "Canyon Country man has lived, made aviation history."

Fifth Grade Class Cleans Island Beach. Math/science teacher Chase Shireman led 25 students from the Saipan Seventh-day Adventist School in a beach clean up on Bird Island in the Northern Mariana Islands. Partnering with the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance, in just two hours Shireman and his students filled 20 bags of garbage that had washed ashore. They were inspired by a a documentary titled "Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch." From Marianas Variety, "SDA students clean up Bird Island."

Firefighters Fill Baptismal Pool for Breath of Life Ministries. Breath of Life Ministries arranged to have San Antonio firefighters use a fire truck to fill a 5,000-gallon baptismal pool outside the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church. Breath of Life used the above-ground pool to baptize at least 100 people. Fire Deputy Chief Wedige explained that the activity fell under a public-service category which includes training, demos, and public education. From KENS 5 News, "SAFD firefighters filled baptismal pool at request of mayor staffer."

Eastern Nigerian Union Conference Hosts New Governor. Newly-elected Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Nigeria's Abia State attended a thanksgiving service at the Seventh-day Adventist Eastern Union Conference Headquarters in Aba, affirming that he intended to accept challenge to "not to displease God."  Bassey Udoh, Eastern Nigerian Union Conference President, had charged the governor in a sermon to watch what he did in order not to displease God.  Ikpeazu used strong rhetoric in describing his goals in office, telling his audience that he was prepared to step on toes standing in the way of his agenda. From The News Nigeria, "Governor Ikpeazu declares he will step on toes."

Loma Linda University Health, San Gorgonio Memorial Begin Affiliation Talks. The board of San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in Banning, California is entering into exclusive affiliation discussions with Loma Linda University Health. A deal between the two entitites would mean a needed cash infusion for San Gorgonio to allow the 71-bed facility to expand. Loma Linda would lease the taxpayer-owned hospital, but the district would retain the assets. From Press Enterprise, "BANNING: Hospital seeks affiliation with Loma Linda University."

 

Pam Dietrich taught English at Loma Linda Academy for 26 years and served there eight more years as the 7-12 librarian. She lives in Redlands, CA.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6846

(Thomas J Zwemer) #2

Dispensationalism and prosperity promises are were the real grow is occurring…Adventism offers a little od both. Just hear the stories of faithful tithe payers, and the final generation pitch. something now and later.

Tom Z


(Carolyn Parsons) #3

It is kind of the governor to warn people to get their feet out of the way so he doesn’t have to step on their toes. :footprints:

He, however, enjoined persons whose “legs are on the way to remove them before his arrival, in other not to have their toes stepped on”.


(jeremy) #4

i’m not surprised to read this…there is something about original, unreinterpreted adventism that arrests the mind and captures the heart…in particular, the visions of egw are amazing…one can delve to the nth degree in many things in this world, but there’s nothing quite like those visions…


(le vieux) #5

Because the mainline churches have nothing of substance to offer. They tend to jump on all the latest cultural bandwagons; they’re afraid to be different; afraid to offend anyone. It may not have occurred to them that when the celebrate (just to cite one example) Darwin’s birthday every February, they’re celebrating the birthday of a man whose theory has caused untold numbers of Christians to lose their faith. And they wonder why people are drifting away? People aren’t that stupid. Many of them have put 2 & 2 together, and understand that if Darwin was right, then their faith is in vain. If the mainline churches want to retain members they need to get back to basics: the real gospel, not the social/cultural gospel, which tries to please everyone and offend no one–an absolute impossibility.


#6

Another reason for growth I believe is the way we emphasize the bible during our presentations. On my way to work this morning a friend of my wife called to tell us that her family will now be attending the Adventist Church, she was especially excited about her son being a pathfinder and how we emphasize the bible in relation to human history.

Having a relationship with God is wonderful and Adventistism offers a unique and distinct message.


(Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13) #7

All “Adventist congregations” aren’t growing. This report about a Hispanic congregation is another reminder that significant growth in the First World is due to ethnic membership increases.

What do we do about the stagnation & even decline in non-ethnic membership? Judging by what’s happening in European churches, North American churches will be mostly ethnic in the not distant future. Nobody seems to know what to do about the spreading failure-to-thrive of “indigenous” membership. Have we simply moved through an inevitable cycle? One that will also someday affect the ethnic congregations?


(Thomas J Zwemer) #8

Jerry it is astonishing that you would use the words original un reinterpreted in the context of Ellen White. Where have you been for the past 50 plus years. if you want original try John and Paul. In the Greek if possible., Tom Z


#9

Tom,

Even if everyone knew how to read the original Greek, in some cases, it still wouldnt do much. People come to the Bible, be it in English or Greek with a theology already attached; and will read those texts according to that theology.


(Allen Shepherd) #10

Some white churches are growing. At least they are not taking the dive that the mainline ones are. Nice of Spectrum to note the trend.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #11

I can fully understand why people stay within Adventism, Jobs, family, friends, fellowship, where else to go etc. What I can’t understand is how those folks can evangelize into Adventism. if I were within Driving distance of several Adventist churches on the West Coast I would attend but not ask for membership. in the Deep South, no thank you. Tom


(Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13) #12

“White” can be ethnic. This report is of an ethnic church. Regardless of some exceptions, NAD growth is based on ethnic & immigrant membership increases. Are you familiar w/ the situation of our European churches? I’m puzzled by your resistance to acknowledge the facts of this pattern. We seem to simply be slower in the same trend as the mainline churches & so they are a hardly a comparison in which to take comfort.

We can’t fix problems by ignoring them.


(Allen Shepherd) #13

Hopeful,

I am aware of the problem in Europe. i am also aware of the ethnic and immigrant membership issues. I know of what you speak though do see some growth that you seem not to see. The white population in America is becoming more like that of Europe. So, I do see it. We are a more religious group, however, though changing as can be seen by the increase in 'nones". Not ignoring anything, actually, but have at least looked into the causes of liberal church decline. Adventists are different from them, and are less affected by the malaise that they have contracted by embracing liberal thinking. We would do well not to emulate them.


(Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13) #14

Do you have evidence that contradicts the official figures?

  1. The over-all Adventist presence is shrinking in the NAD.
  2. NAD Adventists aren’t effectively reaching the non-ethnic population.
  3. We have a much higher median age than the general population, proving we aren’t attracting & keeping young members.
  4. We have a shrinking ratio of churches to the population, decreasing community presence.
  5. “Productivity” in achieving accessions is down.

According to the researchers these are “major disturbing trends” in NAD Adventism.


(Kim Green) #15

There are none so blind as those who will not see…


(Kim Green) #16

Adventism is a tiny slice of religious life within the Christian world and more people within the U.S. have heard about the LDS or JW than SDA’s. There’s still hope for Adventist growth if they stick with migrant populations and the 2nd and 3rd World Countries.


(Cfowler) #17

If the “dead wood” is cleaned out, the membership numbers in NAD will be much, much less. Perhaps 30-40% less.


(Allen Shepherd) #18

I think you are right here. I won’t argue with your stats. We are reaching less of the non white population. And I think some of the stats are troubling

But compared to the Episcopalian church, we are in great shape. This article is about the eminent demise of some of the main line churches. They are doing terrible. We, not so bad.

As far as mormon and JW, we are less prominent in the US, but much more well known in the third world.

And as far as blindness, the liberal churches are failing. Are you not sighted enough to see how terrible it is for them? Why blindly adopt their thinking? Even Spectrum has noted the problem they have, in spite of our own troubles. And all the churches have “dead wood.” But it is difficult to address the issue. Especially in some churches.


(Kim Green) #19

True…but the others (LDS and the JW’s) are there as well and Adventism is just one of many other religions in the 2nd and 3rd World.


(Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13) #20

So w/ two hemorrhaging patients, is the one bleeding less quickly pronounced “in great shape”? Or do we diagnose & treat two hemorrhages?