Home > Research > Faith Communities Today > New Fact Information >
What You Have Observed to Be Most Effective--Part Two
About half the standard methods of outreach used by Seventh-day Adventist local churches are seen to be effective methods of recruiting new members by less than five percent of church members in each case. Members in congregations in the major metropolitan areas are often twice as likely or more to identify these methods as effective.

For seven percent of the members in metropolitan churches health and/or family life seminars are “the most effective method for bringing new members into [their] local church.”In a nationwide survey of Adventist members, less than one percent agreed with this statement.

Seven percent of members in metropolitan churches said children’s ministries was most effective, while only three percent of the nationwide sample agreed. Six percent of metro-area members said media ministries were most effective, while only three percent of the national sample agreed. Six percent of metro-area members said that youth ministries were most effective, while only two percent of the national sample agreed. Seven percent of the metro-area members said literature distribution was the most effective method, while only one percent of the national sample agreed.

Seven percent of both samples agreed on only one method—that door-to-door witnessing contacts were the most effective method for recruiting new members in their local church.

Why so little agreement? Why are some of the “minor” methods of outreach seen to be so much more effective in urban and suburban churches than across the rest of the country? The answer very likely is related to how diverse large-city and suburban congregations and communities are. The Adventist churches in the small towns and rural areas tend to be much more culturally homogeneous and therefore lend themselves to a consensus about outreach methods. The Adventist churches in metropolitan areas, including most suburban communities, are typically quite diverse, and this diversity tends toward a wide range of opinion about what works in outreach and almost every other practical topic in church ministries.

Discussion Questions:

1. What outreach success has our local church had with health seminars? ... with family life seminars? ... with children’s and youth ministries? ... with door-to-door witnessing programs? ... with media ministries or literature distribution?

2. Which of these outreach methods should be given more usage in our community?

3. Should we assign the Personal Ministries Council [or outreach committee] to experiment with one or more of these methods? 

More details about ministry issues in metropolitan areas can be found in Mission in Metropolis.

Paul Richardson
Executive Director
Center for Creative Ministry

Creative Pastor e-Newsletter, December 13, 2007, Center for Creative Ministry