The Challenges of a Local Adventist Church in Puerto Rico

The Adventist church in Puerto Rico, under the direction of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus, faces three situations in this postmodern era:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

This story is of a church in Puerto Rico- but it is the story of many a church nearly anywhere.

I look forward to your future articles. Thank-you.


I wonder how this disenchantment has affected the tithe income of the local Conference? Let alone what is happening to the finances of the local church and school? I wonder how often they are electing the same Conference leaders? I wonder if the local pastors feel any frustration in presenting a message that calls the world to accept our everlasting gospel message?


Good analysis of what is a general trend of stagnation in some parts of the church today. This is happening in the church everywhere not just Puerto Rico. Stagnation occurs when we stop developing, growing, progressing, or advancing as a church body. Everywhere the church faces the challenge of stagnation not just in Puerto Rico. The way that the US Government has treated Puerto Rico as a colony mirrors the way the church has shown “benign neglect” in expanding health and educational growth opportunities. The lack of gender equality in ministry is taking a toll in the delivery and quality of pastoral care.

Besides all of the above, the “elephant” in the room for the Adventist church in Puerto Rico, remains the same. It is the political relationship the island has with the United States as an exercise in colonialism. That is to contextualize it within the colonial experience of the European expansion in the last 500 years. In its contemporary usage the term “colony” implies the illegitimate political subordination, exploitation and oppression of a people by foreign power.

This understanding reaches its broadest legal expression in the United Nations 1960’s Resolution 1514 condemning colonialism and recognizing the right to liberty and self-determination by all peoples. For Puerto Rico, the creation of the commonwealth and the ratification of its Constitution by Congress in 1952, and the political hegemony of the pro-territory Popular Democratic Party for close to three decades, has been for many an illusory narrative of self-determination. This illusion came to an end in 2016 with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust and PROMESA.

What is indisputable is that Puerto Rico does not have a vote in the process of governance. It is time for Puerto Rico to stop falling through the territorial/colonial rabbit hole.

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One of the biggest issues that Puerto Ricans face is the hotly contested issue of statehood. Every decade they get closer to voting to become an official state with all of its benefits and privileges. “Nationalists” (and others) have so far succeeded in keeping PR a territory but with a newer and more open generation of younger people…it gets closer and closer to statehood.

I do expect that it will be a short period of time before a vote for statehood is passed. There will be a period of adjustment for all Puerto Ricans which will cause some upheaval…but overall, I believe it is the best thing.

Puerto Rica’s government generally is a corrupt mess and statehood will bring some much needed accountability and progress. The amount of money that is squandered and that benefits the few is appalling. The drug traffic that flows freely through the territory is astounding with Federal police with little resources to mitigate. All of that has the promise to change to which will benefit the citizens of PR.

Yes…it is more than time for Puerto Rico to stop falling through the hole. It is up to the citizens of PR to want and desire to have change.

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I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I joint the church 45 years ago. I loved the message but I immediately noticed that the way it was practiced and presented was not appealing for people to stay. There was a lot of legalism: what to wear, what not to eat, places that we should not go instead of going by principles. A lot of my friends left the church. After college I moved to the United States and noticed the same problem but not as bad. The challenge that we face is to make the church relevant to the younger generation and to the community as the nation becomes more secular. New strategies will need to be put in place to gain and retain new members. Less rules and instead worship like the Bible says “in spirit and truth”.


Stagnation would have been better!

What happened in 2010 and afterwards, as I wrote in comments here on Spectrum at that time, is that the Church started to run backwards on the rails. Train’s destination: 1844. And sure enough, we saw exactly this happening. The AC/2018 was proof of this, even the place and the beards!!! :slight_smile:

Yes, I wish we had been just “stagnated” since 2010…

I wish we were “stagnated in 2010,” bvut we didn’t, we went backwards.


Well said, Marcos…there is an old axiom- “Adapt or die”. You have explained the issues of the church not either not wanting or not recognizing that change is needed.

Train’s destination: 184.

There, I fixed it for you.

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Well Tim, I am not sure. Have to check with @fpoof … :laughing:

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