Welcome to the Conference Headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for the state of Indiana. We are a Christian faith community, which bases its hope and future in Jesus Christ. Our administration and staff provide strategic leadership, support services and resources to more than 81 congregations and 14 schools within Indiana to achieve our shared vision of proclaiming Christ, nurturing believers and serving humanity. Thank you for stopping by.
Faith-Based Optimism—The First Ingredient for Church Growth
In his book, The Big Four (2011), S. Joe Kidder outlines his personal research of the factors that define a growing church. The number one factor is faith-based optimism. He discovered five Seventh-day Adventist churches in North America which met the criteria for exceptional church growth with 5 percent attendance increase, membership, and baptisms for five consecutive years. He matched them with three nearby churches which were experiencing either declining or plateauing growth.
After interviewing three pastors of stagnant Adventist churches in the same region, Kidder asked them for an explanation as to their church’s lack of growth. They responded, “It is very difficult to work here. The people are not interested in the Adventist message. Most of them are (cited specific denominations).” Then Kidder asked the pastors “What about the future?” The responses revealed little hope. “It (the future) does not look good. The (specific denominations) are getting stronger and we are getting weaker.”
What about the responses of pastors with growing churches? The pastor of one growing church stated, “I love living here. The people of our city love God, we pray for them, we meet their needs, and they keep coming to our church. God has been so good to us. We started our church…eight years ago with a handful of people and today we have more than 500 people in attendance.”
It all depends upon the faith of church leadership. Joe Kidder declares the crucial factor to be faith-based optimism. Joe advises “the most important ingredient in church growth is to have a winning attitude based on faith and trust in God.”
These scenarios remind us of the past. In Deuteronomy 1 Moses reviewed with the Children of Israel their journey to the Promised Land. God promised that He was going to give the land to them. They need not be fearful or dismayed to enter in. But His own dear people became consumed with fear. “The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified to heaven. And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim there” (Deut 1:28). As if to say, “There are too many obstacles!” Faith was wanting.
It took 38 years to resolve that lack of faith. Then, God exhorted them, “This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples everywhere under the heavens, who, when they hear the report of you, will tremble and be in anguish because of you” (Deut 2:25).
We have multiple experiences in our Indiana churches where God is blessing the mustard seed of faith of our people. Crowds are seeking medical assistance from our Lake Union Community Health Clinics in places like Beech Grove, Cicero, Glendale, Marion, etc. In fact, so many folks are coming; they have to be turned away. Our Indianapolis Mizo congregation has an amazing story of faith which you can view at https://vimeo.com/234886649. Our Evansville Hispanic congregation has manifested a powerful spirit of faith. They are committed to beginning a new church school with approximately 30 students this next 2018-2019 school year. Our Indianapolis Second Hispanic church has spawned a new church plant (Ephesus Hispanic) on the east side of Indy. A tremendous faith has been demonstrated by those stepping out from the mother church to establish a new lighthouse for God! And finally, our Terre Haute church district with some Illinois friends have exhibited faith to establish WYLJ (107.5 FM) full-power 24/7 radio station partnering with Three Angel’s Broadcasting Network and sharing the message of our soon-coming Savior.
I want the Lord to increase my faith, how about you? (Mark 9:24). May God grant us that special ingredient of faith-based optimism which leads to fulfilling the commission culture of Matt 28:18-20.
Conference Connection September 2017