Statistical Report for 1938
Have you stopped to think that nearly one hundred years have passed since this movement began?—ninety-five full years in fact. That lapse of time has brought the results in this work which we now see. At the close of 1938, this work was conducted in 387 countries, islands, and island groups, by 28,084 evangelistic and institutional laborers, using 766 languages and modes of speech in their work. This was an increase of 52 languages during the year, and 188 during the last three years, or virtually one new language added practically every rive days during the three years. The membership of the 8,570 Seventh-day Adventist churches throughout the world at the close of 1938 stood at 469,951, a net increase of 17,193, or a gain of 3.8 percent.
Before noting other phases of the report, it may be of interest to observe the difference between the net gain and the gross gain, in membership. The net gain for the year-was 17,193, while the gross gain was 39,583. The deaths may be estimated at 5,640. Deducting the net gain, 16,75o are left as the number who have apostatized or are reported missing. This number compared with the net gain .is almost the same, with the deaths exceeding the number by 5,640. It would, therefore, be correct to state that of every too members received into the church throughout the world during 1938, 43 remained steadfast, 14 died, and 43 apostatized. Overseas fields are producing about the same results as are seen in North America in respect to this matter. The net gains, deaths, and apostasies may be indicated thus:
(See PDF for statistics)
Total funds received for evangelistic work during 1938 were as follows:
(See PDF for statistics)
Noting the increase in each fund over the amount received in 1937, with the per cent of increase, the showing is as follows: (See PDF for statistics)
In the report submitted last year, attention was called to the fact that the shortage in foreign mission funds during the five years preceding 1937 was in excess of $8,000,000. The foregoing figures show a still further reduced rate of mission giving in 1938. We have not nearly kept pace with the gain of 3.8 percent in membership, while the amount of tithe appropriated for benefit of fields and work outside local conferences is smaller by $1o3,591.o5 than for the year 1937. The fact is that mission giving has been receding for about eight years. If the same rate of increase had been kept during that period as formerly prevailed, we would have received millions of dollars more for the support of foreign missions.
Let us study this matter of mission giving for a moment. First, let me say that the amount of total funds contributed during 1938 was greater than for any other year in our history, and the same is true with respect to tithes and home mission funds. The year 1938 stands out as the banner year in the amount of contributions for tithes and home mission funds, and also for total funds raised for evangelistic work. But in the matter of foreign mission giving, each of the years from 1926 to 3930 exceeded the amount given in 1938. And the average membership for that 19261930 period was about 185,000 less than the membership for 1938.
Again, comparing the tithe paid in 1938 with the average amount for each of the five preceding years, or 1933-1937, the per cent of gain for 1938 in tithe was 26.76. The gain for home missions, computed on the same basis, was 24.10 per cent, and for foreign missions, the gain was 16.o8 per cent. Our per capita for foreign missions has dropped from around $14 in 1921 to 1929, to $7.86 for 1938. Only a brief computation is necessary to show that such a decrease in mission giving would amount to several million dollars' loss in a few years. While the total funds for evangelistic work received during 1938 were the largest ever received during any year in our history, our per cent of gains was the lowest we have had in five years. This runs as follows:
(See PDF for Statistics)
The total funds contributed during the seventy-six years since the General Conference was organized in 1863, amounts to $266,230,925.29, of which tithes have been $147,656,465.43 (55.46%) ; foreign missions, $78,398,434.76 (29.45%); and home missions, $40,176,021.10 (55.09%). The contributions now are greater every day than they were for a whole yew-in the earlier periods of this cause.
(See PDF for summary)
The summary on page 3 of the Statistical Report shows that we are now producing literature in 195 languages, the total cost for one copy of each amounting to $2,485.89. The total value of book and periodical sales for 1938 was $4,190,330.13. The total record of book and periodical sales since the movement began amounts to $118,204,678.40. There are now 1,221 laborers employed in producing this literature, and 3,352 engaged in its distribution. We now have a grand total of 523 institutions, an increase of 124 during the last eight years. In North America we have 10,361 laborers, and outside this country there are 17,723. This makes a total of 28,084, or a gain of 55 during the year.
Summarizing the foregoing facts, we make the following brief statement. The 52o conferences and missions employ 3,946 ordained and licensed ministers as its main force of evangelistic workers, with 5,807 missionary licentiates and office secretaries assisting in this work. The 2,738 primary and advanced schools employ 6,029 teachers, with 113,257 enrolled as students, and 1,422 entering some field of denominational work at the close of the school year. The 159 sanitariums and treatment rooms, employing 6,481 physicians and nurses in the care and treatment of sick, expended $394,770.26 in charity work during the year, and have a capacity of 528,124 patients. Connected with the 79 publishing houses, 4,573 are employed in producing and distributing over four million dollars' worth of denominational literature annually. Thirty food companies employ 1,248 persons in the manufacture and distribution of food products.
Thus there are 3,526 employing organizations in the denomination, with 28,084 persons actively engaged, and an annual pay roll and expenditures exceeding $40,000,000. Here is recorded the growth of a wonderful work. Take the matter of languages added during the last fifteen years. A total of 546 new languages were added since 1923, or one new language every ten days. Possibly no other religious movement ever accomplished a similar result in so short a period. Furthermore, we have increased 100 per cent in respect to the following items during the period stated: Church membership, 14 years; laborers, 17 years; educational institutions, 12 years; number of institutions of all kinds, 13 years; value of one copy of denominational literature, 15 years; denominational investment, 16 years.
Suppose we take a forward view, and consider what the situation would be fifteen years hence, if time should continue. If the same rate of gain were maintained, we would then have nearly one million church members, over a million Sabbath school members, over 56,000 laborers, over 500 educational institutions, and over 1,000 institutions of all kinds. The value of one copy of denominational literature would exceed $5,000, and the denominational investment would exceed $125,000,000. Our annual income for evangelistic work would then be more than $26,000,000; and we would then have reached some contact with people speaking 1,500 languages and dialects. If you are skeptical regarding these figures, I can only refer you to the growth we have made during. the greater part of the seventy-six years of our denominational history, showing that we have more than doubled in about ten years in most of the items.
The Lord has a purpose in all this gain, and that is to carry His saving message to all peoples, and thus prepare them for His coming and kingdom. Remember the words of our Saviour when He said, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." May His Spirit imbue all laborers in every conference and institution, so that His cause may be hastened to a speedy and glorious triumph.