Adventist congregations are more likely to report that the programs they sponsor serve fewer than 50 people per month (the smallest category in the statistics) than are all faith groups. And they are less likely to report any of the larger categories with one exception. Five percent of Adventist congregations report that their community service programs touch 350 to 999 people in a typical month and that is the same as the interfaith sample.
There are a few local Adventist churches that have exceptional community involvement, and we have previously published the data that show that these are also among the congregations with the best growth records in North America. (See “Adventist Congregations Today,” Chapter 2; and “Ministry,” November 2004.) Community involvement is the most important area of focus for Adventist church growth in the U.S. today.
A world survey conducted for the General Conference by the Institute of Church Ministry at Andrews University has shown this to be one of the weakest areas for the church in all parts of the world. In response the GC officers have included in the strategic goals for 2005-2010 and item that reads “recognized the need for Adventist churches to become more involved in serving their local communities.”
1. How many people are served in a typical month by the community service programs sponsored by our local church?
2. Are we satisfied with our contribution to the local community?
3. Should we be more involved in helping some of the needier communities in our metropolitan area (or rural region) in collaboration with one or more other Adventist churches?You can find more about trends in local churches in the Adventist Congregations Today book and CD-R and Faith Communities Today (FACT).