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New Member Assimilation
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Most Adventist pastors report that new people are easily assimilated into the life of their congregation. Nearly two thirds say this is largely true for their local church. Only one pastor in eight reports significant problems with assimilation of newcomers.

This information comes from research done as part of the Faith Communities Today (FACT) survey.

Does this seem counter-intuitive to you? We often hear complaints that the results of evangelism are quickly lost. Other research has shown that most Adventist Church dropouts are longer-term members, the majority of them born and raised in Adventism. That would agree with this finding. A careful follow-up study on a sample of Net 95 converts revealed that after two years, nearly nine out of ten were still active church members. [Copies of both these other studies can be obtained from the Center for Creative Ministry.]

The "back door" problem is not about an inability to assimilate new converts as much as it is about the problems we have in making Adventism a sustaining faith for maturing believers and engaging with new generations. The Adventist Church is an attractive faith and fellowship to many people, but it does not "wear well" with some kinds of people. 

Discussion Questions:

1. To what extent is the following statement true in our congregation? Is it very true, quite true, somewhat true, largely untrue or not at all true that new people are easily assimilated or incorporated in the life of our congregation. [Compare answers with the national survey.]

2. Why true? Why not true? [Do a "force field analysis" ... List in one column the things that make it easier for new people to be assimilated into our congregation and in a second column the things that make it harder.]

3. What changes should be made in order to build on the positive forces and diminish the impact of the negative forces?

New FACT Information, Center for Creative Ministry