Skip to content

Asheville Forum: Michael Scofield


Asheville Adventist Forum: Michael Scofield


Please note that this meeting of the Asheville Adventist Forum will be held via Zoom. If you wish to be part of this meeting, please send an email saying so to Connie at by the night of Wednesday, September 23, 2020. She will send you the password and link that you will need to log into the meeting. Please log in a few minutes before starting time. If you have friends who would be interested in this topic and whom you wish to introduce to the Forum chapter, please send their names and email addresses to Connie. It is likely that we will have some people attending from far and wide, which makes Zoom meetings so interesting.

Date & Time:

Sabbath, September 26, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern


"The Golden Age of Adventist Missions: What enabled it, and what factors made it decline.”

A slide lecture by Michael Scofield, M.B.A.

Spreading the gospel to the whole world was a strong imperative in Adventism after 1870. But the number of missionaries leaving North America increased significantly between 1910 and 1940. These hardy folk endured isolation and a variety of dangers and hardships; their dedication (albeit sometimes coupled with naivete) was impressive. The medical work expanded significantly with graduates of the newly formed College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda heading overseas. 

As a result, there developed an image (or myth) of mission service which often departed from reality, resulting in part from the creative enthusiasm of storytellers back home to take generous liberties with the facts. We shall review some of the more flamboyant stories and authors.

This energy was stifled somewhat by World War II. Indeed, a number of Adventist missionaries and their families were prisoners in several camps in the Philippines when the Japanese army overran. Their stories are sobering. 

But a number of factors changed the mission work model after WW2. These included the emerging work force of indigenous ministers and teachers, resulting in the transition of leadership positions from Europeans. This trend was enhanced by de-colonization and self-rule of many of these “third world” countries. Other factors of change included shorter periods of service for the European missionaries, and the lowered cost of air travel (compared to steamship).

We will also look at the metrics of success, and the focus on “countries entered” rather than activity geared to the size of the population.

Incidentally, surveying historic missionaries’ lives and activities has become easier with both the government documents available on, and the robust index of articles and especially obituaries on the Andrews University library website, in addition to the many denominational journals archived (and indexed) on the General Conference website.

Speaker Biography:

Michael Scofield, M.B.A. is a sixth generation Adventist, currently holding a faculty position at Loma Linda University. He has served on numerous committees (particularly in the Pacific Union Conference) on church structure and governance. His primary career has centered outside the denomination in various aspects of data management and information technology including database design, data quality assessment, and data visualization. He has been on the data management speaking circuit for 22 years, with over 300 lectures to professional and academic audiences all over the U.S., London, Australia, and Canada. He has also spoken on topics of Adventist culture and institutional development for many Forum chapters and progressive Sabbath School classes. He also has had humor published in the Los Angeles Times, and other journals.


For further information contact Connie Hayward, 828-693-1105 (h), 828-388-1575 (c),

Ron Lawson may be contacted at



Subscribe to our newsletter
Spectrum Newsletter: The latest Adventist news at your fingertips.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.