Faith Communities Today
New Fact Information
Typical Adult Attendance, Part II
Compared to other religious congregations in the U.S., the Adventist Church has significantly fewer local churches where more than 150 adults attend ona typical Sabbath. In fact, 12% of all congregations have a typical adult attendance of 151 or more, three times the portion among Adventist congregations.
Adventist local churches where the majority of the members are white are much more likely to have less than 150 adults in attendance on a typical Sabbath than are historically African-American Adventist congregations. Among African-American Adventist churches the percentage of larger congregations is significantly greater than among other Protestant denominations. This is an indicator of the vigor of Adventist work among African Americans.
The low rate of larger congregations in the Adventist Church, and especially white Adventist churches, may explain, in part, why it has experienced significant decline among Baby Boomers. There is considerable evidence from a number of researchers that the Baby Boom generation prefers large congregations capable of providing a full menu of ministries.
At the same time, the much larger share of small congregations in the Adventist Church may position it for greater success among Gen X and the Millennial generation, both of which may have a preference for small groups where close friendships can flourish more easily. Of course, to realize this potential, small churches would need to learn to build on their relational advantage and connect with new generations.
1. What category does our local church fall into; fewer than 50 adults on a typical Sabbath, 51 to 150 adults on a typical Sabbath, or more than 150 adults on a typical Sabbath?
2. Has our local church attracted a significant number of new members from the Baby Boom generation over the last two decades? (people born from 1946 through 1964) If so, why? If not, why?
3. Is our church well-positioned to reach and win younger adults born since 1964? What advantages can we build on? What disadvantages do we need to change?
New FACT Information, Center for Creative Ministry