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The Christian Century Revisits Adventist Growth

In an April 18 online article, The Christian Century covers the reprise of Adventist growth statistics as also reported to Spectrum by David Trim. Ranging beyond official numbers, the article touches on a variety of Adventist beliefs and practices while exploring who Adventists are and how churches are doing.

When the 2011 edition of the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches was published in February, the Seventh-day Adventist Church drew special notice for its reported 4.3 percent jump in membership. It turns out, however, that the figure was miscalculated.


The Adventists’ climb to 1,043,606 U.S. members in 2009 (the latest year tabulated) was really only a little more than a 2 percent increase. A news-service story put the one-year rise at 2.5 percent, but to be exact, the increase during 2009 was 2.1 percent, according to David Trim, the statistics director for the Adventists’ General Conference based in Silver Spring, Mary­land. . . .


Some anecdotal evidence from a motorcycle-riding Adventist pastor suggests that the typical SDA congregation in America is faring much like other churches. Marvin Wray, 64, a pastor from Napa, California, took a sabbatical in the summer of 2009 to visit 70 typical Adventist congregations. Wray said he wanted “to see for myself” how other pastors were doing from coast to coast.


“I found that the bulk of the churches were aging and struggling to attract and hold young families,” Wray said in an interview. “Membership is running about the same for a decade and more. They have some baptisms, some deaths and people moving away. Of those who just stop attending, it can be some time before their names are taken off the books as missing, inactive or whatever.”

Read the whole article, “Adventist growth boosted by immigrants“.

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