Our lives have meaning
In a world where every day there are thousands of things competing for our attention, I’m glad you’ve taken a few minutes to learn who Seventh-day Adventists are. Adventists believe life is more than just the accumulation of ‘stuff'. It’s about more than just surviving. It means more than simply maximising pleasure and minimising pain.
Our lives have meaning, because we have value
Why do we have value? Because every human is miraculously crafted by God who wants us to live life to the full. What’s more, He sent His Son to demonstrate true love, forgiveness, grace and hope. It is our relationship with Jesus Christ that defines every facet of who Adventists are.
A holistic spiritual journey
Seventh-day Adventists have a holistic view of our relationships with Christ and the world around us. We believe that spiritual and emotional wellbeing foster an active mind; an active mind is fuelled by a healthy body; and a healthy body and mind enables healthy social relationships.
As part of our holistic approach to the spiritual journey, we believe in disconnecting from the everyday world to care for our spiritual dimension one day every week—we call this the Sabbath Day. The Sabbath Day is a gift from God to all of us, because, as our Designer, He knows we need a day off every week. This gives us time to refocus our lives on the things that matter most and to let our body, mind and spirit recuperate.
We also believe that the best way to avoid disease is to prevent it in the first place. Hence our emphasis on a lifestyle in harmony with the natural laws of health. This includes a vegetarian diet—the same diet God gave in the Garden of Eden—and avoiding putting toxins like alcohol, tobacco and narcotics into our bodies.
Following God’s natural laws for a balanced life provides a great blessing. Adventists are often studied because of our longevity and relatively low rates of some of the most devastating lifestyle diseases.
Authentic love is expressed through service
Love for Christ and one another are at the centre of every facet of our faith. Serving others is the highest form of that love. That is why we are so active in health, education, development and in spreading the good news of God’s forgiveness and promise of salvation.
Just how active are we? Currently, Seventh-day Adventists operate over 389 hospitals and clinics around the world that provide nearly 16 million outpatient visits annually. In the South Pacific Region we operate the Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Company, well known through its healthy products (Weet-Bix and Up&Go, for example) and wellbeing initiatives in the corporate and private sectors. There are almost 1.7 million students in our global education system. Our institutions provide education from pre-school through to universities granting doctoral degrees. Adventists also operate a large network of aged care facilities and orphanages.
Much of our work occurs in poor and remote communities ignored by the rest of the world. For example, Adventists operate 56 medical clinics across the South Pacific islands—and most are in communities that have no other healthcare providers. That is what the love of Christ looks like in our world today.
Meeting spiritual needs
Our goal, however, isn’t just to meet the physical and educational needs of people—our goal is to also meet the deep spiritual hunger within everyone. And people all over the world are responding in record numbers to that spiritual call.
An independent analysis of the most recent Australian census, found the Adventist Church grew 14 per cent in the five years between censuses. Commenting on the growth, the independent analyst notes: “The Census provides a picture of the Seventh-day Adventists around Australia as a highly multicultural and comparatively young Church with lots of young families. There is every reason to expect growth to continue…” 1
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is also among the fastest growing churches in many nations of the Pacific, and around the world, including the United States where, according to the USA Today newspaper, it is the fastest growing Christian denomination.
We know we’re imperfect
Are we perfect? Of course not. Do we have our share of failures, problems, disappointments and unfilled plans? Indeed we do. But the love that God gives to us is so deep, so broad, so all encompassing, that we have joy in our journey, even in a world that can at times be impossibly cruel.
Life is good, because God is good. We have balance, because God gives us balance. We are whole, because Christ makes us whole. We have love to give, because God reinforces love for us every single moment of our lives.
There’s a lot more to learn
If you’d like to know more about Seventh-day Adventist Christians, visit the links on this page or, even better, drop by one of our churches, schools, hospitals or clinics. You’ll meet ordinary people doing extraordinary things and their lives will, I believe, tell you more about who Adventists are than all the words I could write.
May God bless you in your spiritual journey,
Pastor Glenn Townend
President of Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific.
1 Dr Phillip Hughes, Seventh-day Adventists Report based on the [Australian] National Population and Housing Census, Christian Research Association, 2012.