Defying Obstacles: An Active Church in the NSD

Blog July 21, 2021

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The Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) is one of the most challenging fields in the world. This Division covers the vast territory of Mongolia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, North Korea, and South Korea. Si Young Kim, president of the NSD, wrote the following about the challenges faced in this area of the world:

“The mission of God’s people in this Division is to spread the Gospel message of the soon-coming of Christ to 1.6 billion people who reside in the Division territory. Although we may look like grasshoppers before the great wall of secularism, materialism, atheistic ideologies, and philosophies, we can successfully accomplish the mission through the power of the Holy Spirit promised by Christ.”[1]

While the task may seem insurmountable from a human perspective, church leadership is confident that they can accomplish their mission by the power of God, and their faith and hard work are paying off. Despite the many obstacles in their way, the members in this Division are actively involved in church and Sabbath School attendance, as well as frequently engaged in spiritually growing activities.

Division Information

The 2017-2018 Global Church Member Survey (2017-18 GCMS), conducted on behalf of the General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, collected data from Divisions of the Adventist Church around the world. The sample in the NSD totaled 3,064 participants. Over half of the survey respondents (57%) were women, and the remaining 43% were men.

In this blog, we will look at church attendance and devotional practices of Adventists in this Division and their lifelong commitment to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.   

Church and Sabbath School Attendance

The results of the 2017-18 GCMS showed that in the NSD, members were committed to attending church services and Sabbath School. Four out of five (81%) survey participants shared that they attended church every week (53%) or more than once a week (28%). An additional 14% reported that they attended church services almost every week. A tiny percentage (1%) of respondents admitted that they never went to church.

Sabbath School attendance appeared to be also meaningful to the members in the NSD. Nearly three-fourths (73%) of respondents reported that they attended Sabbath School every week (57%) or more than once a week (16%). Another 15% shared that they attended Sabbath School almost every week. A small number (4%) of respondents confessed that they never went to Sabbath School. Although small as it was, this number was 2.5 times higher than the number of those who never attended the church service. Likewise, the percentage of respondents who rarely attended the Sabbath School and were present there from once to at least four times a year was higher compared with the church service attendance of the same frequency (5% vs 2% respectively). 

Engagement in Spiritually Growing Activities

At the same time, overall, members in the NSD were active in spiritually growing activities. For example, 87% of respondents shared that they engaged in personal devotions about once a week (9%), more than once a week (23%), or daily (55%). A similar number (87%) of respondents reported that they read the Bible regularly; 12% did so about once a week; 27%, more than once a week; and 48% did so daily or more than once a day. Respondents indicated that they studied the Sabbath School lesson slightly less than they read the Bible or engaged in personal devotions: 20% stated that they did so about once a week; 31%, more than once a week; and 25%, daily or more than once a day. Still, the results showed that members in the NSD are committed to engaging in activities that bring them close to Jesus.

Lifelong Commitment to the Adventist Church

How did all of this involvement impact the respondents’ connection to the Adventist Church? When the 2017-18 GCMS asked members how likely it was they would be Adventists for the rest of their lives, a large majority (82%) stated that they were very likely to continue attending the Adventist Church until the end of their lives. Another 13% shared that it was somewhat likely that they would do that, which raises the percentage to 95%. It is so encouraging that despite the many obstacles in the way of the NSD Church, an overwhelming majority of members were committed to Adventism and wanted to persevere in their faith!

In conclusion, the 2017-18 GCMS showed that a strong majority of church members in the NSD were devoted churchgoers and wanted to be committed to attending the Adventist Church for the rest of their lives. The devotional practices on a weekly basis or more often were a part of the spiritual life of three-quarters of respondents. Reading the Sabbath School lessons was a weekly or several-times-a-week practice for more than half. However, there is room for improvement in daily spiritual practices. Nevertheless, in spite of the many challenges faced by church members and leadership in the NSD, we see that God is actively working in this area of the world. The Adventist Church in the NSD is a living example of Matthew 19:26: “With God all things are possible!”

To learn more about the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, click here:

Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry.

Published by ASTR on 7-21-2021

[1] Si Young Kim, “We are a people of Mission,“ Seventh-day Adventist Church: Northern Asia-Pacific Division.