The Executive Secretary’s report

The Executive Secretary’s report

Barna Magyarosi, EUD Executive Secretary. (Photo Credit: Elì Diez Prada)

“We are working against a general trend of a declining Christian population in Europe"

November 12, 2015 | Bern, Switzerland. | C. Cozzi, CD EUDNEWS.

The executive secretary of EUD, Barna Magyarosi, introduced his report by pointing out some of the most important findings of the European Union’s Public Opinion Analysis/ May 2015, identifying some of the key concerns of Europeans, such as education, financial situation of their household, health and social security, and pensions.

He focused on the new geopolitical settings that our Europe has to face as a result also of the recent migration crisis. The new wave of non-Christian populations that are occupying Europe will change over the next 35 years the European religious profile. According to the Pew Research Center, by 2050 we will experience a decrease of the Christian population, from 75% to 65%, and an increase of Eastern religions (especially Hinduism and Buddhism), which will double their percentage of presence in Europe, with a particular regard to the Muslim religion that will increase its current population by 63% by 2050.

"These trends represent a real challenge for Christians in Europe, and especially for us as Adventists, called to proclaim the message of the second coming of Jesus," said Corrado Cozzi, EUD Communication Director. Although not standing united, Europe is focusing on its efforts to deal with this emergency. The Adventist Church is also engaged in addressing the refugee crisis especially from a humanitarian perspective.

“There is no quick solution for this problem. We don’t have to solve the complex problem of the refugees, but we can offer them help in our countries by meeting their felt needs” affirmed Magyarosi.

In his report, the executive secretary turned the attention of the executive committee to the growth of the Adventist Church in the territory of the Inter-European Division.

The growth trend of the Church is rather moderate. In the last 10 years the Church has increased by about 8,700 members, increasing its membership from 170,264 in 2004 to 178,938 in 2014. Considering that in these 10 years there have been about 42,500 baptisms, and the ‘physiological’ loss of members due to their death, approximately 24,000, the church should have grown by about 18,000 members. Nevertheless, we are still experiencing a high drop-out rate. About 10’000 decided to leave the church in these last 10 years.

"According to a study conducted by the Statistics and Research Archives of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the dropping out trend is due to several reasons," affirmed Magyarosi in his report: Lack of compassion for the hurting; Personal moral failure; Too much focus on minor issues; Conflicts in the congregation; Moral failure of members; Moral failure of leaders; Pressure from families or friends, etc.

"If we could provide our church members with adequate pastoral care, surely we would reduce the percentage of dropping out" commented Corrado Cozzi. “We should really consider a plan that seriously helps our members to be more consistent with their choice of joining the Adventist church."

The saddest data is that 40% of the dropping out members do not receive any care from the Church, and in the past decade only 20% of the total dropped out received a pastoral visit.

“We are working against a general trend of a declining Christian population in Europe,” concluded the executive secreatary. “We are loosing what we have gained through the back door through attrition. Nurture, retention, and reclaim become vital.

Yet, there are doors that are open and needs to be fulfilled: people are anxious about their security in the future and are concerned about their health. Let’s be there for them!”

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