by AT News Team
From 2006 to 2011 the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia grew by 14 percent in data recently released by the national government. That gives it the second most rapid growth rate among all denominations in the country. Only the Oriental Christian Church grew more rapidly in this period.
Two thirds of the increase in Adventist membership came from immigrants, Rob Steed told Adventist Today. He is president of the interdenominational Christian Research Association and an Adventist minister who has worked for a number of years on the staff of the national headquarters of the denomination in Australia.
The number of people who told government census workers that they are Adventists was 11 percent more than the official membership total of the Australian Union Conference. This is an additional indictor that the Adventist faith is growing in the country.
“Contrary to the media reports Christianity is growing,” Steed says. “There was an increase of 3.7 percent of Australians identifying themselves as Christians.” At the same time there was a “massive shift away from denominationalism to independent churches … a 40 percent increase in Christians [who do] not identify with any particular denomination.”
This is in many ways similar to what is happening in the United States. The Adventist Church in the U.S. is the fastest-growing denomination in the most recent interfaith statistical report from the National Council of Churches. The non-denominational sector of Christianity in the U.S. is far out-pacing all of the denominations in growth.