Faith Communities Today
New Fact Information
It should come as no surprise that Adventist churches are more likely than congregations of other faiths to offer a Bible study program other than Sabbath School. A majority of Adventist churches (51%) report that they offer Bible study throughout the year, as compared to 48% of congregations of all faiths. The actual difference in percentage points is not large, but Adventist churches are on the high side of half and the general sample of all faiths is below it. It is an indicator of priorities.
Nearly one in five Adventist churches (19%) have a Bible study program during a certain season or seasons of the year as compared to 15% of all faiths. About 16% of Adventist churches say they offer Bible study on a one-time, short-term or occasional basis as compared to 14% of all faiths.
Only among churches that report no Bible study other than Sabbath School or Sunday School are Adventist congregations below the norm: 13% as compared to 23% among all faiths.
Clearly in the Adventist Church the Scriptures are still a central and vital element in congregational life! In fact, these data may be understated. There is a language that is peculiar to the Adventist Church involved in this question. The precise wording of the question was, "During the past 12 months, did your congregation have a Bible study other than Sabbath School?"
Traditionally among Adventists, "a Bible study" means a one-on-one session where two people (usually a church member and a non-member, or sometimes a church member and a non-member family) study a set of Bible lessons together. But for other Christians, "a Bible study" refers to a small group that studies the Bible, usually meeting weekly or on some other regular schedule.
1. Does our local church have a Bible study group or class other than Sabbath School that meets every week? How many?
2. Is this Bible study group(s) advertised for the general public?3. Is there a need for more Bible study groups to make this opportunity available to more people? What about a variety of different topics and approaches? Different times and days throughout the week?
New FACT Information, Center for Creative Ministry