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The Friendliness Factor at Adventist Churches
A newcomer who walks into an Adventist church on Sabbath will be personally greeted by more than five of the members. That is the report by pastors and lay leaders in nearly three out of five local churches in the U.S. In a third of the churches the leaders say that only three to five members will greet a visitor, while 8% of the churches say it may be only one or two members.

The perceptions of newcomers make a difference in whether or not they come back, and the degree to which a congregation is proactive in relating to visitors has been correlated with church growth in many studies. This is confirmed again in the Faith Communities Today (FACT) study of Seventh-day Adventist churches in America. (See Adventist Congregations Today, pages 28-29.)

If a newcomer feels comfortable, welcomed by other people, and gets something of value from the worship service, he or she is likely to come back. If visitors connect with new friends as individuals or families with whom they share common interests and feel that the congregation has a meaningful ministry, they are likely to begin a pattern of attendance and consider joining. This is true no matter what religious background the newcomer has.

Discussion Questions:

1. When visitors attend worship services at our church, about how many members usually welcome them: more than five, three to five, one or two or none?

2. Over the past eight Sabbaths, how many newcomers have we had in worship? How many of these have come back at least once?

3. If you were a newcomer in our church, not knowing anyone here or having any history with us, what would be your observations? How would you feel as you walked into our worship on Sabbath.

4. What can we do to make our church more comfortable and inviting to newcomers?

5. Do you make an effort to greet people you do not know?

To learn more about what research shows about Adventism today, order your copy of the insightful Adventist Communities Today book and CD-R set. Learn more about the Faith Communities Today (FACT) research.

Paul Richardson
Executive Director
Center for Creative Ministry

New FACT Information, Center for Creative Ministry