My Church and its Reputation in Community: Part 1

In the book of Revelation, a beautiful picture is painted of Heaven. People of every nation, tribe, people, and language are standing before Jesus, shouting praises to Him. Does this picture give you goosebumps? The apostle John’s depiction of this scene in heaven makes one thing very clear: the people group in heaven will be as diverse as is the world’s population. However, we cannot dream of achieving this diversity if we neglect being involved in the community. This does not just mean simply conducting outreach through evangelism, but through other forms, as well. Becoming involved and relevant in the community is an important first step to bringing new faces into the family of God. Are you proud of your church and its reputation in the community? How do you think other Adventists feel about their churches? Let us look at some research findings from the 2013 and the 2017-18 Global Church Member Surveys on this topic.

Blog July 13, 2022

This post is also available in: Français Deutsch Português Español Telugu

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

 – Revelation 7:9–10,

In the book of Revelation, a beautiful picture is painted of Heaven. People of every nation, tribe, people, and language are standing before Jesus, shouting His praises. (Kind of gives you goosebumps to picture it, doesn’t it?) The Apostle John’s depiction of this scene in heaven makes one thing very clear: the people group in heaven will be as diverse as is the world’s population.

However, we cannot dream of achieving this diversity if we neglect being involved in the community. This does not just mean simply conducting outreach through evangelism, but through other forms, as well. Becoming involved and relevant in the community is an important first step to bringing new faces into the family of God. This is, after all, how Jesus ministered, is it not?

Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”[1]

The 2013 v. 2017–18 GCMS: Proud of My Church’s Role in the Community

The respondents in the 2013 Global Church Member Survey (GCMS) were asked if they were proud of their church and its role in the community. Over half (52%) of the respondents shared that they were always proud of their church’s role in the community, and almost another third (31%) responded that they were often proud. This makes four out of five members positively evaluating the role of their churches in the local communities. Only a very small percentage (4%) admitted that they were never proud of their church’s role in their community.

When members were asked in the 2017–18 GCMS to respond to a similar question—“I feel proud of my church and its role and reputation in my community”—nearly the same number–four out of five (79%) respondents—agreed to one degree or another with this statement. However, 13% shared that they were not sure, and 7% disagreed. While the ranking categories were different between the two surveys, it seems that members were slightly less positive about their church’s community role and reputation in 2017–18. This should definitely serve as a call to local church leaders not only to become more involved in the community, but to listen to church members’ ideas for ways to do so.

The 2017–18 GCMS: Communication across Cultures, Clans, Tribes, and Religion

Another question included in the 2017–18 GCMS asked respondents if they felt that their local church had the ability to communicate effectively across cultures, clans, tribes, and religions. Over half (60%) of the respondents worldwide agreed to one degree or another that their church had the ability to communicate effectively; however, a quarter (24%) of the respondents admitted that they were not sure. It is concerning that slightly less than one in five (16%) of respondents disagreed with this statement—meaning that they did not believe their local church had the ability to communicate effectively across cultures, clans, tribes, and religions. This concerning finding should motivate churches to become more inclusive and develop their outreach and communication to all those outside the Church.

Thus, in these studies, a majority of the Church members were happy with the role and reputation of their churches in local communities and also with the ability of their churches to reach across different cultural, ethnic, and religious barriers. However, slightly fewer people were proud of their church’s reputation and role in the 2017–18 GCMS compared with the 2013 study. In addition, more people were unsure or disagreed with the successful communication of their church across different people barriers. As we look forward to the Second Coming of Jesus, we must be working tirelessly to bring souls into the family of God. Being involved in the community and relevant in our outreach are two steps that can help achieve this goal.

Maranatha!

Come, Lord Jesus.

For more research findings on the total sample, please see the Meta-Analysis report.


Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry

Published by ASTR on 07-13-2022


[1] Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, pp. 143, 144)

Image credit: Food donation photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com