From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Adventist Leader Appeals For Greater Recognition of Youth

From "Christian B. Schäffler" <>
Date 01 Oct 1998 11:44:38

October 1, 1998
Adventist Press Service(APD)
Christian B. Schaeffler, Editor-in-chief
Fax +41-61-261 61 18
CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland


Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, 01.10.1998  [ANN/APD] An appeal "to 
harness the energy, vision, and entrepreneurial spirit and potential 
of the young people and guide them into service for God and 
humanity," was voiced by G. Ralph Thompson, secretary of the 
Seventh-day Adventist World Church, as he presented his report to 
the delegates of the Church's Annual Council on September 30.

Noting that Seventh-day Adventists are a global Church, he said 
that "we must never forget that the Seventh-day Adventist family 
is a multi-national, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, multi-
cultural family made up of every nation, kindred, tongue, and 
people." He went on to state that the Church is also multi-

Thompson underlined that in many parts of the world the Church
 is a church of young people. In South America, where the Council 
is meeting, about sixty percent of the membership is under thirty 
years of age. 

"I appeal to our older, more seasoned leaders and members to 
remember to be gentle and kind and understanding with our 
younger people.  When some of us older ones were their age, we 
gave our own parents and senior leaders a hard time," he went 

He called for greater "sensitivity to the various needs of the 
groups that make up our churches," because "what appeals to one 
generation does not necessarily appeal to another.  We have to be 
wise and understanding in this.  We don't have to change our 
theology to change our methodology."

Noting that not all is well in today's world, Thompson commented 
on some of the serious challenges facing today's Christianity. 
"Many thought leaders tell us that when tribalism, racism, and 
ethnic diversity clash, Christianity loses the battle-as recently 
illustrated in Rwanda and Yugoslavia and other parts of the world.  
The Seventh-day Adventist Church, by God's grace, must prove 
them wrong." 

It was noted that the Church world wide has passed the 10 million 
mark. Only twelve years have elapsed since Church membership 
crossed the five million mark.

Much of the Church's rapid growth is contributed to the on-going 
missionary program, especially in the so-called "unentered areas." 
With the United Nations currently listing 236 countries, the work of 
Global Mission and its volunteer missionaries of more than 19,000, 
Seventh-day Adventists are present in all but nine of these 236 
nations. The Church's Global Mission initiative plans to establish 
congregations in three of the remaining nine countries. 

According to Bert Haloviak, acting director of the Office of Archives 
and Statistics, the overall growth rate of the Church for 1997 is 
4.38 percent.  Currently 2,039 persons a day are joining the 
Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

This is the second Annual Council to be held in South America.  
The first one was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1986.  This Annual 
Council in Brazil will be the last which will, in for the foreseeable 
future, be held outside of North America, where the world Church 
headquarters is located. This decision was reached early this year 
in "an attempt to conserve financial resources," but also, as 
Thompson noted, because of the fact that the present composition 
of the Executive Committee has become representatively 
international. The future Annual Councils will be held at the 
Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters in Silver 
Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

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