What Members Say About their Churches: Comparison of Six Denominations

Every five years, the Faith Communities Today research group surveys church members in approximately 11,000 congregations about life within their churches. Lutheran researchers Kenneth Inskeep and Daniel Taylor (October 2016) compared results from various church denominations and explored the factors relating to attendance. They compared members ratings from 3,447 congregations randomly selected from six church denominations. They selected the Seventh-day Adventist Church as one of the six. Members from 311 randomly selected congregations comprised the Adventist sample.

The findings provide Adventists reason to both celebrate and search to address our challenges.

The entire report contains observations that help us see ourselves both in terms of our assets and liabilities.

Among the assests—on the plus side—one of the striking differences between Adventists and other denominations was the trend toward church attendance.  Adventists attendance increased nearly ten percent (9.8%) over the past five years, whereas all the other denominations decreased between 4% and 10% during the same period of time.

Details can be found in “Advancing Adventist Mission in a Post-modern Society” (pp 6-11) in the document Advancing Mission Effectiveness in the North American Division by the Committee on Mission Effectiveness, 2016.

Download the Report: Advancing Mission Effectiveness in the North American Division

Implications of the study

To be a mission-driven church is to focus on the basic reason for church—to show the world (and the watching universe) what God is really like. Could it be that, like Laodicea (Revelation 3:16), we have used our assets (comparative growth, superior devotional practices, Sabbath observance, etc.) to blind us to areas of great need? Is our mission turned inward toward our own comfort zones or outward in vibrant service to others?

The first step in the mission-driven journey is a fearless inventory of ourselves as a Church and then work in alignment toward the accomplishment of our God-inspired mission as a Church. Research findings on this website will feature additional research reports that point out our Church’s impact for good as well as opportunities to do even better.