Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Ps. 67:3–5 (KJV)
Seventh-day Adventists take pride in being a “global family of Christians who holds the Bible as the ultimate authority”—and with good reason! As of the end of 2020, the Church noted a global membership of over 21.7 million members in 13 Divisions; that number continues to grow each year. The Adventist Church presents a real-life picture of “all the people” of “the nations” praising our Father in Heaven.
The Worldwide Church
In the 2017–18 Global Church Member Survey (GCMS), members were asked to respond to the statement, “It is important to me that my local church be part of a worldwide Church.” A majority (89%) of respondents agreed to one degree or another that it is important for them that their local church be part of the worldwide Church. However, a small percentage of members were unsure (7%) or disagreed (5%) with this statement. It is encouraging that so many members understand and embrace the Adventist value of being a part of the global Church family. In some churches or with some congregants, additional emphasis on the importance of a worldwide Church family may be needed.
The Local Community
On a smaller scale—but of no less importance—members were asked how they felt about their local church’s role and reputation in the community. Four out of five (79%) respondents agreed that they were, indeed, proud of their church’s role and reputation in the community. Unfortunately, 13% were not sure of their church’s role/reputation (likely indicating a lack of personal involvement), and 7% were not proud. It is positive to see that the majority of survey participants were proud of their church’s role and reputation in the local community; yet community involvement is an area for growth, as one in five members was unsure or did not feel positive about their local church’s role in this area.
The Health Message: An Outreach Opportunity
When it comes to outreach in both the local community and globally through mission work, the Adventist Church does much of its work through health ministry programs. Many churches use the Adventist Health Message as a way to become involved and minister to their communities, specifically through programs that focus on physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as by providing social support. This method of involvement closely aligns with Christ’s method:
Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with people as one who desired their good. He showed sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He invited them, “Follow Me.”
Because of its central role in local and global outreach, participants in the 2017–18 Global Church Member Survey were asked if they believe that “the Adventist Health message emphasizes physical health, mental health, emotional well-being, social support, and relationships as a part of spiritual growth.” A vast majority (92%) of respondents agreed that the Adventist Health Message does all of these things. It is clear that Adventists value the Health Message and understand that it paves the way for wholistic health—not only for Church members, but also for anyone who accepts and adheres to its principles.
The Adventist Health Message provides an avenue to reach those who are in need of not only physical, mental, social, or emotional wellness, but also spiritual wellness. For congregations seeking to become more involved in their local communities or to become a more active part of the global mission of the Adventist Church, it provides a much needed (and often, welcomed) method of outreach.
“When properly conducted, the health work is an entering wedge, making a way for other truths to reach the heart. When the third angel’s message is received in its fullness, health reform will be given its place in the councils of the conference, in the work of the church, in the home, at the table, and in all the household arrangements. Then the right arm will serve and protect the body.”
In what ways is your local church involved in community outreach? Does it use the Health Message to help people around it? Are you happy that your local church is part of the worldwide Adventist Church which is looking forward to the second coming of Jesus?
For more information on the total sample of the 2017-18 GCMS see The Meta-Analysis Report.
Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry
Published by ASTR on 05-13-2021.
 Annual Statistical Report: 2021 ASR, v.3, page 20: https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Statistics/ASR/ASR2021.pdf
 Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 143.
 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, 6:327.