Churches Open at Fastest Rate in History
Church membership nears 18.5 million.
An Adventist church being opened in November 2014 in Guatemala, where 144 new churches were built last year.
Seventh-day Adventist churches are springing up around the world at the fastest rate in the denomination’s 152-year history. On average, a new building opens its doors to worshippers every 3.58 hours.
A record 2,446 new churches opened last year, helping fuel the largest single-year increase in membership and bringing total membership to nearly 18.5 million.
Gary Krause, director of Adventist Mission, whose missionaries play a key role in opening new churches, praised God for the growth and called for the Adventist Church to push ahead boldly in its mission to proclaim Jesus’ soon coming. “These statistics suggest that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is heading in the right direction in its mission and must keep that focus,” Krause said.
The 2,446 new churches that opened last year is 381 higher than 2013, and tops the previous record of 2,416 churches in 2002, said David Trim, director of the Adventist Church’s Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. The Adventist Church ended 2014—the tenth consecutive year in which more than 2,000 churches were organized—with a total of 78,810 churches, compared with 57,850 a decade earlier.
Trim said the growth in churches was, from all evidence, an important but often overlooked part of the explanation for the growth in overall church membership.
Newly compiled figures from his office indicate that a record 1,167,796 people joined the Adventist Church last year, surpassing the 1,091,222 people who joined in 2013 and the previous record of 1,139,000 in 2011.
— Andrew McChesney, Adventist World
A Lomé prison inmate being baptized in the new baptistery.
Hope Channel in French
The Adventist Church will launch its first round-the-clock television channel for the French-speaking world thanks to an ambitious plan by its Inter-American Division to start three new satellite channels.
The three new channels—Hope Channel Français, Hope Channel Américas, and Hope Channel Caribbean—are expected to launch later this year in the three major languages spoken in the Inter-American Division: French, Spanish, and English.
Hope Channel Français, however, will reach far beyond the French-speaking regions of the division because of collaboration between the Inter-European Division, the Adventist Church in Canada, and the French Antilles-Guiana Union.
— Libna Stevens, IAD
30 Togo Inmates Baptized
Thirty inmates were baptized at a Togo prison chapel built by the Adventist Church after prison officials asked for help replacing a previous chapel that had collapsed in bad weather.
The chapel, located in the main prison in Togo’s capital, Lomé, cost $13,000, of which nearly half was donated by the General Conference, the administrative body of the Adventist Church.
The baptisms were the result of an evangelistic series led by Bruno Amah, an Adventist member jailed in the prison, said Kwasi Sélom Sessou, executive secretary of the Adventist Church’s Eastern Sahel Union Mission.
— Andrew McChesney, Adventist World
17 Families in Middle East
Seventeen South American families have arrived in the Middle East as part of an unprecedented effort to share Jesus in a region where Seventh-day Adventists have struggled to make headway.
The families underwent a three-week orientation course in Lebanon, which included the cultural shock of learning that the vast desert region also boasts snowy mountains, before scattering across the Middle East and North Africa to begin five-year terms.
The missionaries are funded by the South American Division.
— Chanmin Chung, MENA
A South American missionary building a snowman during an orientation trip in northern Lebanon.
Left: Hundreds of people being baptized in Lake Nicaragua. Below: Watching the baptisms are Ted N.C. Wilson, second left; Granada Mayor Julia Mena, fourth left; and Mark Finley, sixth left.