S. D. A. Church Membership

Our monthly challenge of a world task feature.

By CLAUDE CONARD, Statistical Secretary of the General Conference

The principal avenue of entrance into membership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church is by Christian baptism. Relatively few persons who have been baptized previously be­come members on profession of faith in our teachings without rebaptism.

During the twenty-five years between 1917 and 5942, 231,614 members joined the Sev­enth-day Adventist Church by baptism in the United States and Canada. During the same quarter century 46,475 members were added upon profession of faith.

Within this same twenty-five-year period 38,927 church members in the North American field were claimed by death, and 128,930 were dismissed for unfaithfulness to their church vows or were reported missing from church association.

In round numbers these figures indicate that for every Ioo members taken into the church over this quarter of a century in North Amer­ica, 54 were laid away to await their Lord's return, and 46 were dismissed from church fellowship. An average of 40 members out of each ioo who had joined the church remained in active membership.

For each Too members who found entrance into the Seventh-day Adventist Church during the single year 1942 in the United States and Canada, 15 were laid to rest, and 44 were dis­missed for unfaithfulness or for failing to keep their contact with the church body.

It is recognized that many of the members claimed by death in any given period were from those who had become members prior to the time in question; and some of the members dismissed had come into the church in previous years and had grown careless in their church interests. But a comparison of the "ins" and "outs" for any given period is a fairly reliable barometer of the ebb and flow in church relationships.

The tabulation following compares the intake and the outgo in Seventh-day Adventist Church affiliation between the average for the twenty-five years from 1917 to 1942 and the single year 1942, based on each 100 members who have joined the church during these periods:

(See PDF for Stats) 

The chart displayed on this page shows graph­ically the membership additions each year by baptism and upon profession of faith (the open perpendicular bars), and the members lost through unfaithfulness (the black bars). The scale at the left indicates the number of mem­bers in each case. The irregular line running across the chart shows the relationship of losses to gains year by year ; and the figures at the top give the number of fosses annually of mem­bers disfellowshiped for every ioo members added by baptism and profession of faith in the North American field. For example, in 1920, 6o members were dismissed for each too added; in 1933 and 1934, 40 each year were dropped to ioo accepted; and in 1942, 44 members were disfellowshiped for every too taken into the church by baptism and upon profession of faith.

That some improvement is being made in winning and holding Seventh-day Adventist Church members in more recent years is shown by the higher open bars representing additions, the more even black bars picturing losses, and by the general lowering of the yearly and aver­age graphic lines indicating the relationship of the two groups. Ultimate success has not yet been reached, which is a zero score of losses. Faithful church members and workers for the Master will labor and pray that the avenues of exit may be effectively stopped and that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will draw multitudes of loyal members into the church of God and hold them for His kingdom.

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By CLAUDE CONARD, Statistical Secretary of the General Conference

December 1943

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