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Relational Environment
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The relational aspect is not as strong in Adventist churches as it is in most congregations of other faiths. The difference is not huge, but it is enough to be significant.

 “Church as family” is a common metaphor. One would think that this metaphor would be stronger in the Adventist Church than in many other faiths because of the sense of distinctiveness that Adventist members share as well as the relatively small, close-knit Adventist subculture. Why are other faiths more likely than Adventists to report a strong sense of family?

This is NOT because most Adventist congregations are large and people get lost in the crowd. In fact, the average size of Adventist congregations is smaller than the average for Protestant churches in America. 

Is it because relational values are not as important in Adventist congregations as are cognitive, dogmatic values such as truth and doctrine?

Some points to discuss with your church board, elders, small group, or Sabbath School class.

Discussion Questions:

1. To what extent does our local church feel like a large, close-knit family? (Use the well-known scale of 1 to 10 with 1 representing “not at all” and 10 representing “absolutely.”)

2. What percentage of our members would agree with our perspective about our local church feeling like a large, close-knit family?

3. Who among the members would most likely disagree? 

4. What would make our church feel more like a family?

5. To what degree is feeling like “family” important to the core reality of the gospel?

New FACT Information, Center for Creative Ministry