Pride Goeth…

As the King James Version states it: “Pride goeth before destruction…” Proverbs 16:8

An article from The Christian Century and picked up by the U.S.A. Today have recently been passed around amongst Adventists affirming our church growth in North America. Yesterday my twitter and e-mail box was a buzz with this article.  Most the comments from folk indicated excitement about our growth and making statements of pride regarding the growth of the Adventist Church in the U.S.. 

Here are a couple realities though:

We are the fastest growing church amongst the Mainline Protestant Denominations:

  • These denominations though have been on the decline for a number of years and our church is not being measured against all the non-denominational churches that are growing. 
  • We shouldn’t measure our growth by that of other denominations. Our measurment should be, “are we doing what God desires of us to do?”
  • We should ask is the growth we are experiencing something that seems impossible to man but possible to God? I would say probably not!  

We are growing more than any other mainline denomination in North America, but our growth is minimal in comparison to our past history and to the world:

  • From 1913 to 1975 we grew at a rate of 3.61%.  A full percent+ higher than we are currently growing, in other words our growth rate is also declining.  For more information on this see my previous post, “Increasing Our Presence” & Dr. Kidder’s article in Ministry Magazine.
  • The world church is exploding. Only about 1.1 million of the roughly 16 million Seventh-day Adventists are in North America, and as Dr. Clouzet pointed out in the The Christian Century article without the Hispanics in the United States this number would be far less!
  • Our ratio of churches to the population is far inferior to where we were 100 years ago when our church was still a fairly new denomination on the Christian landscape.  To reach the ratio we had at that point in history we would need to add 1,000 churches.

I believe it would be wise of all of us to celebrate the individuals that are accepting Jesus and the message we teach as Adventists, but to not celebrate our growth because we still have a LONG way to go and God can do so much more if we will all have the heart of Jesus to “save the Lost.” Matthew 18:11.  If we don’t have that heart and instead our hearts are turned to pride over our “growth” we will soon find destruction!

It would be mindful to hold in our thoughts the comment of Dr. Ron Clouzet in the Christian Century article,

“We don’t feel that we’re growing very much, and that is a source of concern, especially for North America,” said Ron Clouzet, director of the North American Division Evangelism Institute at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich. Hispanic Adventists are “the one group that is growing very well,” he added. “If we didn’t have that group, we would look even more dismal.””

May God increase and we decrease!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This