Worldwide Participation in Communion

Blog March 29, 2023

Participating in communion is an important time of remembrance and reflection for Adventists. The 28 Fundamental Beliefs share just why this practice is so important:

The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Savior. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again. Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination, repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service of foot-washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians.[1]

In many settings, communion is celebrated four times a year (quarterly). However, in other settings, it is practiced more often. The 2017–2018 Global Church Member Survey (2017–18 GCMS) assessed how often respondents participated in this special commemoration of Jesus’ sacrifice.

Global Participation in Communion

Worldwide, a near majority (49%) of 2017–18 GCMS respondents reported that in the last year, they had participated in communion at least once a quarter, which is, again, standard for many settings. However, nearly one in five survey participants (19%) shared that in the last 12 months, they had taken communion more often (almost every week, every week, or more than once a week).

More than one in ten (15%) admitted that in the last year, they had only participated in communion once or twice, while 10% had not partaken in it at all.

When the data was cross-tabulated by Division, some interesting trends emerged:

  • Respondents from the Euro-Asia Division (ESD) were most likely (88%) to have participated in communion at least once a quarter, followed by the Inter-European Division (EUD; 76%).
  • Survey participants from the Southern Asia Division (SUD) were most likely (38%) to have partaken in communion almost every week, every week, or more than once a week.
  • Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) respondents were more likely (12%) than any other Division (SUD excepted) to have taken communion more than once a week.
  • Respondents from the South American Division (SAD) were least likely to have participated in communion, with 15% sharing that they had never taken communion in the last year, followed by participants from the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division (SID; 13%)

The Importance of Communion

Participation in communion is an important practice. Jesus told us that we were to do it in remembrance of Him. Indeed, while “the Lord’s Supper is a simple celebration of Jesus’ sacrifice and promise . . . its significance is profound. It is a unifying act of worship, joy, and remembrance of our Savior’s unmatchable love” [2]

We also have a call to participate in the Lord’s Supper from the apostle Paul: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor. 11:23–26 KJV). How many times a year does your church have the communion service? How important is it for you?

When was the last time you remembered Jesus in this special, tangible way?

Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry.

Published by ASTR on 03/29/2023

[1] General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 2020, 28 Fundamental Beliefs.

[2] Seventh-day Adventist Church. (n.d.). What Adventists believe about the belief and practice of the Lord’s Supper.