Bear up, friend.
Things are looking up.
Church growth is slowing.
If the church were growing at the same rate as the last 20 years of the 20th century, we would have 28 million members, not 18 million or so. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Statistics/Other/MembershipAndPopulationEstimates2002.pdf And the growth rate appears to have progressed in the wrong direction the last five years.
As liabilities for retired ministers continue to outgrow the membership, and as members in 30-church districts in pockets where church growth is concentrated realize the inequities of the present system, the leadership of the church is increasingly under pressure all around the world.
Whether flora or fauna or economies, growth is the Tree of Life.
The oncoming leaders of the church already know that the future is a Seventh-day Adventism fully kitted theologically for the age in which we live.
And they know the church is not so equipped.
And they are impatient.
Oh, and Elder Wilson is right. The future of the Seventh-day Adventist church is in the cities. And after the General Conference full-court press in New York City three years ago, the result was another average year in baptisms compared with the previous five years in the participating conferences.
The numbers don’t lie. Time is not on side of church leaders, because time is not on the side of the church as we know and love it.
Nothing improved in that regard with the re-election of Elder Wilson. And this may be good. The longer the Second Coming is delayed, the more universally undeniable it becomes that the relevance of historical Seventh-day Adventism is fully amortized in the world in which it lives everywhere around the world.
The good news is the Sabbath and the Second Coming offer an unrealized opportunity for re-kitting the theology of the church. And the promised world-wide impact of the First Angel’s message offers a compelling opportunity for re-understanding the Gospel of Jesus.
Re-tour John 12, and be inspired. Our message, yet to be realized, will be universally appealing. And it is right that our theology will be measured by this biblical principle of universal attention, and in keeping with the prophecy of the Three Angels, near universal appeal. Of course it is an angel who carries the message to its conclusion. It is just increasingly obvious that we are not preaching that message. Yet.
Inspiring times are before us, Manni!