Doctrine is Not Why Members Leave Church

Adventists Assess Why 1 in 3 Members Leave the Church

Why does the worldwide denomination lose 43 people for every 100 it converts? Hint: It’s not doctrine…
Adventists Assess Why 1 in 3 Members Leave the Church

ANSEL OLIVER/ADVENTIST NEWS NETWORK

Adventist Researcher Monte Sahlin presents data on church retention.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) boasts 18 million members worldwide. But leaders recently revealed the denomination has lost one in three members over the last 50 years.

Additionally, for every 100 people the SDA gains, it loses 43 previous members, according to research presented at the denomination’s first Summit on Nurture and Retention, reports Adventist News Network (ANN).

The main reason for the low rate of retention: personal problems and experiences, according to Adventist researcher Monte Sahlin. People do not drop out based on the church or its doctrines, but because of personal trouble like marital conflict or unemployment, he told ANN.

The SDA answer to growing membership may not be in adding new faces, but taking care of the people who are already there, leaders suggested. In South Africa, for example, the rate of adding new parishioners had slowed, but retaining current numbers had significantly increased the church’s membership.

Recent SDA data reveals areas where the denomination has seen both growth and decline. Southern Asia, Latin America, and Southern Africa have pushed worldwide membership to nearly 18 million, while the 15 fastest-declining countries are in the SDA’s Euro-Asia, Trans-European, and Inter-European divisions.

Regarding doctrine, the SDA’s North American division (NAD) recently experienced a significant step toward changes on women’s ordination. The division affirmed areport supporting women’s ordination in a six-to-one vote, reports Spectrum Magazine.

While the vote was strongly in favor, no policies have yet been changed. Religion News Service offers a lengthy report on the ongoing debate.

CT regularly covers Seventh-day Adventists, including how the SDA was somewhat sad and embarrassed to be celebrating its 150th anniversary.

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2 Comments on “Doctrine is Not Why Members Leave Church”

  1. Dawn December 16, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Re; the last comment; Adventists do not have to be “embarrassed” that they are celebrating the 150th anniversary…but encourage one another that Jesus is coming..

    Remember?…. “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.
    7
    But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

    9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Peter 3:4-9)

    It seems to me, there are many examples where God is very patient, waiting for people to choose Him; The years it took for the Israelites to become ready to go to the Promised Land, it took around 100 years that Noah spoke to the people and called them to be ready for the Flood so that those who chose could be saved..

    “Let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us cheer each other up with words of hope. Let us do it all the more as you see the day coming when Christ will return” (Hebrews 10:25).”Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23)

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