15 November 2023 |
About a year ago, contributing editor Jim Walters felt inspired to ask this question: “What is the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?” Living in what we generally call “the West” (Europe, English-speaking North America, Australia, and New Zealand), he felt he had good reasons to examine this question, given that today nearly 19 of every 20 Adventists now live in the Global South.
As a contributor, you are (or will soon) hold the result in your hands: the Adventist Future Project issue. Here are the essays you’ll find:
- Gifts of Perspective from Latin American Adventism, by Rebecca Barceló
- What Could Our Church Look Like in 2030? by Reinder Bruinsma
- Translation, Adaptation, and Creativity: A Chinese Case for the Future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, by Christie Chui-Shan Chow
- The Challenge of Church Organization: May We Find Solutions for the Future in the Past? by Edwin Torkelsen
- The Great Urban Shift: What Does It Mean for Adventist Outreach? by Lars Gustavsson
- The Future of Our Church from an African Perspective, by Alvin Masarira
- Fixing the Representative Model in Latin America, by Daniel A. Mora
- The Adventist Church Reimagined, by Admiral Ncube
- Beyond Boundaries: Hope for the Future of Adventism, by Matthew Burdette
The fact that you are reading this introduction means that you’re likely part of a minority within a minority in Adventism. That is, you live in the aforementioned “West” and, even there, you’re a member of the progressive subset. From that viewpoint, the future of Adventism looks bleak: the still-dominant Caucasian membership in the North American Division is barely holding its own, and the fundamentalism of the General Conference is increasingly belligerent.
But there’s good news: the significant growth of our church in the Global South continues, and Adventism is bringing great meaning and life to millions. Also, despite fundamentalist pushback, our denomination is well along in its maturation from sect to church. It’s Adventist progressives who have the spiritual bandwidth to address our affective selves, where we primarily live!
P.S. Happily, this issue of Adventist Today represents a first: as we publish essays on the Adventist future, our academic counterpart, Spectrum, is simultaneously running its own set of essays on this topic.