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Adventist Church Membership Grows
to 1.154 million in North America, Bryant Says
Evangelism brings membership growth, executive secretary reports (Posted November 5, 2012)
BY MARK A. KELLNER
, News Editor
very day, on average, 108 people join the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America either through baptism or profession of faith, according to G. Alexander Bryant, executive secretary of the Church's North American Division.
Bryant told more than 300 delegates to the North American Division's Year-End meeting there are 1,154,428 Seventh-day Adventists worshipping in 5,413 churches and 773 companies across the North American Division as of June 30, 2012.
“Since 2000, our division has continued an upward climb in membership,” Bryant told delegates. "When we put emphasis on evangelism, we see an increase in [our] growth rate.”
SECRETARY’S REPORT: G. Alexander Bryant, the Secretary of the North American Division, discusses the growth trends of the Seventh-day Adventist Church membership during his annual report at the Division's year end meetings held Nov. 2-6, 2012 in Silver Spring, MD. [PHOTO: Daniel Weber/NAD]
Net membership growth in North America for the year ending June 30 was 1.35-percent, he said, down modestly-- .33-percent --from the year before, and down eight-tenths of a percent from 2009, the second part of a division-wide evangelistic outreach.
More than 450,000 people joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America since the year 2000, Bryant said. He noted, however, that the 2011-2012 NAD growth rate was substantially below that of the Seventh-day Adventist Church worldwide.
Adding to the complicated membership picture are the numbers of lost and deceased members compared with those joining the church. In the six year period of 2006 through the end of 2011, a total of 240,891 joined the movement in North America. However, a total of 130,929 members either died, were missing from church activities (i.e., no longer in regular contact with the church) or dropped out. So for the six-year period, Bryant said, the net membership gain was 109,962 members.
Reporting on volunteer and long-term missionaries, Bryant said the North American Division remains a top supplier of overseas personnel to the world church: 48,101 long- and short-term missionaries have been sent out from NAD in 2011-2012, he said The count also includes 34,450 volunteers counted as short-term missionaries for Adventist Community Services.
Bryant said the North American Division’s demographics show that while Adventists here are living longer, young adults are often “missing in action” from church activities. The NAD has “a lower percentage of young adult [members] than other divisions,” he said. While 6 percent of the population in the U.S. and Canada is between the ages of 25 and 34, he reported, only 3 percent of Adventist members fall into that category.
Another disparity – which Bryant said should change – is that while Seventh-day Adventist membership in North America is 60 percent female, only 14 of 214 executive-level positions in conferences and unions are filled by women.
And while examining ratios of Adventists to the general population, Bryant noted that there’s one Seventh-day Adventist for every 291 people in the metropolitan New York/New Jersey area, a region where the church will hold a major evangelistic thrust in 2013. In the Los Angeles/Long Beach and Riverside, California, area, the ratio is 1 Adventist for every 216 people, a ratio that jumps to 1 Adventist for every 1,004 people in the San Francisco/San Jose/Oakland area.
Additional information on the NAD Secretariat department can be found online at http://www.nadsecretariat.org/