From Decline to Renewal

Here in the Northwest, our conferences have adopted a multifaceted strategy of Reaching One More. The goal over the next few years is an intentional effort to bring about a revival and renewal in missional outreach and engagement. This ambitious strategy will forward North Pacific Union’s mission to reach all people within the territory and world with the distinctive, Christ-centered, Adventist message of hope and wholeness. This effort of Reaching One More for Jesus begins in our churches with revitalization.

Dwindling Growth

The Adventist Church originated as a church planting movement. The church had significant and sustained growth until about 30 years ago. In the past decade, the growth rate of our global church has averaged about 2.3%, with the average since 2019 being 0.77%. This alarming drop in growth has resulted in 75% of our churches having either plateaued or declined in the last few decades, with many church closures.

This means there is a need for the church to develop innovative ways to revive these struggling churches in our communities. It seems like a monumental task, but looking back at our history, we see the potential growth and impact we can have.

Planting Potential

Statistically, church planting has been very effective in reaching people where there is no Adventist presence. This transcends languages, with exceptional growth and church planting in Spanish language churches across North America in recent years. These church plants are growing faster than our existing churches.

While church planting has slowed in recent years, there is a concerted effort in the Northwest — and North America — to stop and turn the tide.

To help combat this decline and grow the future, the North American Division has developed Plant 1,000, a vision to have at least one church for every 25,000 people across North America.

This planting plan seeks to help churches by providing $10,000 — combined from the General Conference, division, union and conference — for three years. In NPUC, appropriations for church planting have more than doubled in the last few years.

Transforming Churches

This revitalization plan will require intentional efforts from both church leaders and members. It will necessitate creating welcoming and inclusive environments; being intentional with outreach programs in our neighborhoods to foster a sense of community; adopting and implementing modern technologies in our rapidly advancing digital world to reach those who are seeking; and reevaluating worship services to make them more engaging and relevant to our local area.

These, and more, will help to revitalize our existing church congregations while also attracting new members.

Revitalizing the Northwest

Our Northwest conferences and churches are already developing and practicing innovative ways to help our local churches grow, thrive and become vibrant in their communities.

In the coming pages of this feature, you will read about these transformations and plans from some of our local conferences. We hope that this will serve as an inspiration and ignite a fire within you to impact your community, and the world, by Reaching One More.

  • Revitalize Churches 
  • Engage Youth and Young Adults 
  • Advance Adventist Education 
  • Cultivate Excellence in Leadership 
  • Herald the Mission 

Featured in: May/June 2023