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EUD Secretary’s Report presented at the Year-end Meeting

EUD Secretary’s Report presented at the Year-end Meeting

An invitation to pastoral care

November 10, 2020 | Bern, Switzerland. | EUDnews.

The Inter-European Region of the Seventh-day Adventists (EUD) organizes an annual Year-end Meeting to share administrative points, projects, and programmes in order to lead the Church to accomplish its mission. This year, the meeting was scheduled from October 30 to November 2. Members of this meeting are the administrators of different countries of the EUD territory, including guests from the General Conference, department leaders and Adventist institutions’ directors, a total of about 68 participants. Because of the coronavirus, these meetings were organised via Zoom.

The second day of the meeting, the Executive Secretary, Barna Magyarosi, presented his report. Normally, this report consists of statistics and data showing the shape of the Church in its quantitative movement. Here, some info and data:

The church under statistics

Globally, between 1965 and 2020 (55 years), about 40.5 million accepted the Adventist faith and joined the Church but, in the same time frame, about 16 million Adventists left the Church in the world. This represents a net loss rate of 40%. This is a concern that the Church is studying with care.

“Also, at [the] EUD level, between 2009 and 2019, we see a clear trend in this respect,” said Barna Magyarosi. In this period of time, the Church grew at a rate of about 46.6 thousand members but, in the same time frame, about 19.2 thousand left the Church. This represents a net loss of 41%, and gives the message that the Church continues to lose a good part of its members.

In any case, it is correct to say that the Church in the EUD territory is a Church with a high average age. This explains the constant increase in the number of deaths within the Church.

Even though baptisms are decreasing, while from 2013 onwards, there has been a decrease in the number of those who leave the church, it is relevant to highlight that the 2019 saw a turnaround with a promising increase in baptisms that bode well for the future.

To face this problematic and concerning context, the Executive Secretary, Barna Magyarosi, recommended two actions.

The first, consists of a genuine care for all our members with a special emphasis on those who drift to the fringes of the Church. The technical aspect of this step is an accurate knowledge of our members. Thus, transferring the data of local church members to the Adventist Data System is crucial because the comprehensive and regular updating of the Church Membership Databank is essential to combat the loss of valuable church members. We are often unable to determine who leaves the Church and for what reasons they leave the Church! It is crucial to know the 'spiritual health' of all church members, locally, in order to prevent such numerous and painful losses.

The second, facing this picture - once again, revealing of an alarming situation, leaders and pastors are called to consider seriously the reasons of the 41% of members who leave the Church and appoint a strategy accordingly. “We know well that members do not leave the Church for doctrinal reasons, but mainly for relational reasons,” affirmed Magyarosi, thus launching an invitation to work in the context of this practical aspect of the gospel that is pastoral care.  

Concluding his report, Barna Magyarosi quoted Ellen G. White, one of the founding members of the church: “Wherever there is union with Christ there is love. Whatever other fruits we may bear, if love be missing, they profit nothing. Love to God and our neighbor is the very essence of our religion. No one can love Christ and not love His children. When we are united to Christ, we have the mind of Christ. Purity and love shine forth in the character, meekness and truth control the life. The very expression of the countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the soul exerts a transforming power, and the outward aspect bears witness to the peace and joy that reign within”. 

The unanimous vote of approval of the Secretary General’s report bodes well for a reversal of the trend.

 

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