South American Division Views of Involvement With the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Have you ever attended or been a part of a sporting event? Even if sports aren’t your favorite pastime, when you arrive to a stadium or sports field, it is nearly impossible to avoid being caught up in the excitement and hubbub of the event. Before you know it, you’re cheering along with the rest of the crowd, have picked a favorite player to cheer on, and may even share a celebratory hug with a stranger when “your team” wins.
Can the same be said for our church? When visitors walk in our doors, are they instantly excited by the Gospel message being shared? Do regularly-attending members greet visitors in such a way that that they instantly feel as though they belong? Is the church body so in love with Jesus that their enthusiasm radiates out to unbelievers?
Recently (2013), a global study was conducted of the nine divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church under the direction of the General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. A team of researchers in the South American Division (SAD), headed by Dr. Berndt Wolter, São Paulo Adventist University, surveyed 4,443 church members with good representation (57%) of people under 35 years of age. This study was designed to assess the views of church members regarding different aspects of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and church life.
The self-reported church attendance proved to be outstanding! Almost two-thirds (62.2%) of respondents answered that they attend more than once a week, with an additional 17.9% indicating that they attend once a week, and 10.2% reporting two or three times a month. Only a small percentage (3.8%) indicated that they attend only once every month or two, with 5.9% indicating that they attend a few times a year or less.
Likewise, church members report being very involved in congregational life. Church members were asked how they view their role within the church; that is, would they consider themselves an observer, participant, or leader. The largest group (40.6%) indicated that they consider themselves active participants in church life. An additional 35.8% of respondents consider themselves leaders in their church. Only 16.9% of respondents indicated that they consider themselves a casual participant, while another 3.8% indicated that they consider themselves as simply observer. A mere 2.9% of respondents indicated that they do not participate in church activities at all.
By their Church members’ faithful attendance (80% at least once a week) and active participation (77% active members or leaders), the South American Division sets an example of a winning team that we can all celebrate and follow.
For more information, download the full South American Division report here.
Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry.