The Call and The Cost: Family Sacrifice and Support of Adventist Church Leaders

The Bible talks about leaders of courage, discipline, determination, and obedience. God blessed them. The Holy Scriptures remind everyone in 2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Have you ever wondered how Adventist Church leaders, men and women, feel about their positions? Does their calling come with a cost? Do their families support them in their ministry? Are there sacrifices they have to make? Do they feel close to Jesus? Let us take a closer look at some survey results from the 2017-18 Church Leadership Survey.

Blog December 14, 2022

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“I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” – 1 Corinthians 9:23 (ESV)

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called . . .” – Ephesians 4:1 (ESV)

There can be no denying that working in ministry—whatever the capacity—must be based on a call from God. It is this call that sustains leaders through the tough times and encourages them through the good.

The 2nd Church Leadership Survey, commissioned by the General Conference and conducted by the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research in 2017–2018, examined different aspects and experiences of being a Church administrator. This survey was conducted in 15 different organizations, including 13 worldwide Divisions and the General Conference. (It should be noted that less than 1% of respondents were from the North American Division.)

The Call

The research team reported that a majority (67%) of Adventist leaders felt that they were effective in their role, while another 18% reported that they were moderately effective. In addition, most (84%) Church leaders felt that their spiritual gifts were being used to a large or very large extent in their current role within the Church. These numbers are reassuring as they indicate that many Adventist leaders work in areas for which they are called and gifted.

Adventist Church leaders were also asked about their relationship with Jesus. A vast majority (85%) reported having a close/very close relationship with Jesus. It is a blessing that such a large percentage of Adventist Church leadership prioritize their relationship with Jesus; it is encouraging that they feel so deeply connected to Him.

The Cost

It cannot be denied, however, that working in a ministry position comes at a cost. The 2017–18 Church Leadership Survey asked Church leaders about some of the costs they experienced. One in five (20%) leaders reported that their families suffered to a large or very large extent because of their involvement in ministry. Over a third (36%) shared that their families suffered to a moderate extent. Thus, a majority (56%) of Church leaders said that their families suffered because of their ministry to a very large, large, or moderate degree. The remaining 44% of leaders believed that their families suffered to a small or very small extent.

Even though families may suffer “for the sake of the call,” there is good news. When Church leaders were asked to what extent their families supported them in their ministry, almost all (96%) shared that their families supported them to a large or very large extent. What a blessing it is to have families who also heed the call of Jesus and, as a result, offer support and encouragement!

Worth It!

Although those in Church leadership positions often experience the cost of involvement in ministry, it is clear that the call of Jesus outweighs the inconveniences and trials of this world. When family members provide support to Church leaders, it eases their burdens and makes service for the Kingdom that much sweeter. Does the call outweigh the cost? Absolutely!

To see the full presentation, visit here.


Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry

Published by ASTR on 12/14/2022