AT News Team, July 7, 2015: While personal and public evangelism resulted in 6,212,919 people joining the Seventh-day Adventist denomination between 2010 and 2014, that time span also saw 3,717,683 Adventists relinquish their memberships. Although church membership in many areas is continuing to increase (but at a decreased rate), there are several concerns raised over the validity and accuracy of membership statistics.
David Trim, director of Archives, Statistics, and Research, addressed three main points that were interfering with the consensus of the report: (a) the under-reporting of revoked memberships, (b) under-reporting deaths, and (c) the over-inflation of membership, as realized through secretaries’ reports of members’ regular attendance.
Trim suggested that the key statistic affecting the accuracy of all other data considered in membership audits is the mortality rate per 1000 people. The mortality rate is calculated per division, and then on a global scale. These statistics are then compared against the general population in the divisions’ regional boundaries as well as against the general world population.
In both regional and global comparisons, the mortality rate of Seventh-day Adventist members was found to be significantly lower than that of the rest of the population. The take-home message: Statistics in many parts of the world cannot be trusted.
It’s clear that the denomination is losing people, and that it does not truly have as many members as it at first seems, and that they are losing a large number of people out the back door.
Trim relayed that in his report that he does not intend to address why people leave the church but to present the statistics he has gathered. Trim’s report can be downloaded by clicking here.