Christ’s Method in the Trans-European and Inter-European Division

How well do we know our neighbors or the people living across the street? Do we know them well enough to know what their needs are? Are we able to meet their needs? As a new year has begun, let us explore ways to get to know our neighbors and co-workers better. Jesus understood that the best way to reach people was to get to know them and their needs on a personal level before trying to reach them spiritually. How do members of the Adventist Church measure up when it comes to imitating His example today? In this blog, we will examine data from the Trans-European (TED) and Inter-European (EUD) Divisions on this topic.

Blog December 22, 2021

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In Matthew 9:9–13, we find the story of Jesus calling Matthew to be His disciple:

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners.” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”[1]

Jesus understood that the best way to reach people was to get to know them and their needs on a personal level before trying to reach them spiritually, but how do members of the World Adventist Church measure up when it comes to imitating His example today? In this blog, we will examine data from the Trans-European (TED) and Inter-European (EUD) Divisions on this topic.

Division Information

As part of the 2017–2018 Global Church Member Survey (2017–18 GCMS) conducted by the Institute of Church Ministry on behalf of the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, data was collected from different divisions around the world.

  • The Trans-European Division (TED) oversees the work of the Adventist Church in the territory of the Aland Islands, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia (new name for The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – 2019), Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the southern portion of Cyprus; comprising the Adriatic, Baltic, British, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, and South-East European Union Conferences; the Danish, Finland, Netherlands, and Swedish Union of Churches Conferences; and the Cyprus Region, Greek Mission, and Iceland Conference. A total of 1,331 surveys were used from all 11 TED unions. Approximately half (52%) of the respondents were female and 48% were male. The average age of all participants was 49.4 years of age.
  • The Inter-European Division (EUD) covers the territory of Andora, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, France, Germany, Gibraltar, the Holy See, Italy, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Spain, and Switzerland; comprising the Czecho-Slovakian, Franco-Belgian, North German, Romanian, South German, and Swiss Union Conferences; the Austrian, Bulgarian, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish Union of Churches Conferences. Researchers in the EUD collected 3,865 surveys from 11 unions. Over half (54%) of the respondents were female, and 45% were male (missing data = 1%). The average age of respondents was 51.53 years of age.

Effectiveness of Christ’s Method

Participants in the 2017–18 GCMS were asked if they believed that “the most effective method for reaching people for Christ is to mingle with them, meet their needs, win their confidence, and then bid them to follow Christ.”[2] This uniquely Adventist belief is based on Ellen G. White’s book, The Ministry of Health and Healing. A majority (90%) of members in the TED agreed to one level or another that this was the best way to reach people. An even larger number (94%) of respondents in the EUD agreed. It is evident that members in both European Divisions understand that following Christ’s method is the most effective way to reach people for God’s Kingdom in their countries. Interestingly, the EUD’s “strongly agree” responses surpassed the TED’s “strongly agree” responses by 13.5 percentage points.

Understanding Needs

In a similar vein, members were asked if they agreed that “in order to reach people we need first to know them and their needs.” In the TED, 82% of respondents agreed with this statement to one degree or another; however, 10% admitted that they were unsure, and the remaining 8% shared that they disagreed (i.e., that knowing people and understanding their needs was not an important part of reaching them). Again, a greater number (91%) of members in the EUD agreed to one degree or another that it is important to know them and their needs before we preach the Gospel to them. Only 5% of EUD respondents were unsure, and a small percentage disagreed (3%).

Thus, the 2017–18 GCMS data show us that Adventist members in both the TED and the EUD demonstrated a good understanding of the importance of understanding people’s needs before sharing the Gospel with them, thus implementing Christ’s method. It is even more profound that they shared this view, living, by and large, in secular countries. Interestingly, in comparison, more participants in the EUD showed their support of Christ’s method as an effective way of reaching people. The World Church should use these Divisions as examples when it comes to ministering to peoples’ needs and reaching people globally, as well as in secular contexts.

As we come to the end of the year, we can ask ourselves: “What are our views on this approach? And even more important, how can I implement this method during the holidays that are dedicated to Christ’s incarnation on this Earth? Is there any use in believing the method if it is not put in practice?”

To learn more about the TED, you can access their website: https://ted.adventist.org.

You can also access the full TED 2017–18 GCMS report here.

To learn more about the EUD, you can visit their website: https://eud.adventist.org/en/.

You can also access the full EUD 2017–18 GCMS report here.

See also ASTR blog Keep Christ in Christmas for total results on this question.


Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry

Published by ASTR on 12-22-2021


[1] The Bible – New International Version, Matthew 9:9-13

[2] Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Health and Healing, p 143