Adventist Church Growth Increases at Exponential Rates

general Conference associate secretary Douglas Clayville told employees at the church’s world headquarters in December that even though looking at world population growth figures can be a little daunting to mission-minded church members, they can be encouraged when they consider Adventist-to-world population ratios.

Clayville reported that in 1920 there were approximately 1.8 billion people worldwide. That number increased to almost 6.4 billion by 2004. According to Clayville’s statistics, four children are born and two people die every second, resulting in an average daily world population increase of 172,000. In comparison, the average daily Adventist Church membership increase is almost 3,000. “When you look at those numbers, it seems the church will never reach its goal of sharing the gospel message with the whole world,” said Clayville. But he added that the situation can look a lot more positive when you consider the ratios.

In 1920, he said, there was one Adventist for every 10,035 people. This grew to one for every 2,427 in 1960, one for every 519 in 2000, and one for every 459 in 2004. 

Clayville amused his audience by explaining, “At this rate, by the year 2130 everyone will be a Seventh-day Adventist.”                                                                                                                                                 --AR news editor.

AUSTRALIA: School Chaplain Gives Muslim Students Bible Studies
Auburn Adventist Primary School’s chaplain Edgar Reyes is currently having Bible studies with 68 of the school’s students, half of whom come from Muslim families.

The students, who range from grades 2 to 6, responded to Reyes’ invitation to study the Bible at the end of one of the school’s weeks of spiritual emphasis. Reyes has also given the students Bibles and visited their families.

Chaplain Edgar Reyes and some of his students: [photo courtesy of SPD]
According to Reyes, the parents of the students have been very open and positive, both to him and the school. “They have confidence in the school system and like Adventist schools because of the good morals they teach,” he says. “When they ask about Christianity, I explain my beliefs to them, and they tell me about theirs. I have even been asked to pray with them on one or two occasions.”

Reyes believes his experience has helped him learn how to create bridges between Islam and Christianity. “I have learned a lot about Islam and have studied more about their beliefs to find similarities [to ours]. Seeing how the students respond to Jesus is always something new, and I’m learning methods of how to help them understand Jesus,” he says.

Eight of Reyes’ grade-six students have indicated a desire to be baptized, and five of them come from Muslim backgrounds.

Auburn Adventist Primary School is located in the western suburbs of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, where a high percentage of Muslims live. Parents are interviewed before students are enrolled at the school and are made aware that their children are expected to participate in morning worship and a weekly chapel service, have daily Bible lessons, visit Adventist churches, and sing and pray during such services.

--South Pacific Division Communication Department/AR.

CALIFORNIA: LSU Student Missionaries Transformed in Tanzania
When Stacy Gurgel signed up for her second mission trip to Africa, she thought she new exactly what she would be getting into. “I was expecting a magical experience, like the one I had last time,” says the La Sierra University psychology/pre-seminary senior. “What I got instead was a very real experience.”

Nine La Sierra University students, at the request of university president Lawrence Geraty, recently traveled to Arusha, Tanzania, to hold a 21-day evangelistic series. Preaching at several sites, including an unfinished church with missing walls and an open field with a makeshift stage, the students, mostly pre-seminary, prepared and delivered sermons to the hundreds of villagers and Masai tribesmen who came to listen each night. The results were 398 local baptisms, an idea for a new university evangelism team, and a group of student missionaries recommitted to the Lord’s service.

“I would be preaching a sermon, and suddenly I would realize, ‘Wow, I really believe this!’ ” says religious studies/pre-seminary junior Adam Hicks. “This trip confirmed my Adventist faith.”

“This wasn’t just a chance to preach,” agrees education psychology graduate student Emmanuel Nelson. “We all really came together to examine our faith, and help it grow.” The students, along with sponsor Manuel Arteaga, would often stay up late into the night, studying and discussing such issues as sanctification, justification by faith, and the nature of Christ.

The students presented their sermons in spite of power failures, rain, and illness. Senior biology major Lorena Salto managed to deliver her message one night even after losing her voice. “I had to whisper my sermon to the interpreter,” she says. “He thought he wouldn’t be able to understand me, but we were able to make it through the whole sermon.”

Now back home in California, several members of the mission group have organized a student evangelism team named “The Call,” which has plans to minister both on the LSU campus and in the southern California community.

For more information about LSU, go to            --La Sierra University Public Relations/AR.

News Notes: 
Robert T. Vandeman,
Chesapeake Conference executive secretary, was elected president of the conference on December 13. He replaces J. Neville Harcombe, who recently accepted an invitation to serve as executive secretary of the Columbia Union.                                           --Columbia Union Communication Department/AR.

Walter E. Carson has been elected to serve as general vice president/legal counsel of the Columbia Union. Carson, who replaces Robert L. Patterson, has served as associate general counsel for the General Conference since 1976.                                     --Columbia Union Conference Communication Department/AR.

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