Church Members’ Involvement in Ministry and Community

Blog July 18, 2019

As part of church life, churches employ different ministry activities as a way to enhance members’ spiritual life or conduct outreach into the community. Additionally, church members are frequently encouraged to be involved in discipling and outreach on their own. This not only enhances the vibrancy of the church and the lives of its members, but also shines a light into the community.

In order for these programs to be effective, they require members who are willing to participate. In some cases, this means a weekly commitment, while others are on a less frequent schedule. As part of the 2018 Global Church Member Survey (GCMS), members worldwide were asked how often (in the last 12 months) they helped with a church ministry on Sabbath (Q25.10). One in ten (10.7%) respondents help with a Sabbath ministry more than once a week, while another quarter (24.4%) help every week. Fifteen percent of respondents also report that they help almost every week. The remaining respondents help once a month (10.4%), at least once a quarter (9.8%), or only once or twice a year (13.8%). However, the remaining 16% report that they never help with church ministry on Sabbath.

Similarly, the 2018 GCMS asked how often (in the last 12 months) global church members helped with a church ministry during the week (Q25.11). One in ten (10.2%) volunteered with such a ministry more than once a week, nearly one in five (17.6%) helped every week, and 11.9% did so almost every week. However, one in ten (10.0%) only helped with a church ministry during the week once a month. Almost a quarter (23.8%) reported that they were never involved in helping such a ministry.

Another part of ministry is outreach – specifically to non-Adventists in the community. The 2018 GCMS asked members how often (in the last 12 months) they spent time meeting the needs of non-Adventists in their community (Q25.17). One in ten (10.2%) respondents spent time meeting the needs of non-Adventists more than once a week, 9.7% did so every week, and just over one in ten (10.8%) did so almost every week. Interestingly, a quarter (24.5%) reported that they have done so once or twice in the last year. Seventeen percent of surveyed members never helped with such ministry/outreach.

It is interesting that as part of the 2013 GCMS, respondents worldwide were asked how community outreach helped members develop their spiritual/religious life. One third (32.6%) indicated that outreach had a big impact on their spiritual life, and another quarter (25.4%) indicated that it often had an impact. Another quarter shared that it only sometimes had an impact, while less than one in ten (8.6%) said it never had an impact.

Spiritual life cannot be contained to one day a week (Sabbath) or to activities conducted in a specific building (the church). It is vitally important to church life that members are involved in spiritual activities throughout the week. It is also critical that Christ-followers share the love of Jesus to those who live in their neighborhoods or villages, towns, and cities.

What are some ministry activities that your church is conducting? How can you become more involved with either church-related ministry or community outreach?

* Due to rounding, some percentages in the graphs may not correspond with the figures in the text. Please refer to text for exact percentages.

To read more about the GCMS 2018 data compared to the results from 2013, read this presentation by Dr. David Trim from the office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, click here.

Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry.