During the last 50 years, 34,385,004 individuals were baptized as Seventh-day Adventists, according to the Adventist Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. Of that number, 40% have since left the Church, many of them as young adults.
Southern strives to help young people develop strong connections with the Adventist Church. As part of this effort, the Office of Ministry and Missions holds a special Next Step Vespers near the end of the school year, accentuating the importance of the local church in the mission of Christ.
As part of the event this year, guest speaker and alum Allan Martin, Ph.D., ’90, a pastor from Arlington, Tex., shed light on the myths and facts about churches that successfully reach the current generation. He emphasized the importance of students in the Church.
“Jesus does not simply want students to go to church,” Martin said. “He calls them to be the Church.”
Martin’s words resonated with Ethan Wu, senior computer science major.
“I want to serve in my local church when I move back to Maryland after graduation,” Wu said. “Tonight helped me see how I can be of greater support to my congregation.”
Students also had the opportunity to interact with representatives from various Adventist churches in the local area and across the country. Joseph Khabbaz, vice president for spiritual life and campus chaplain, hopes that this recurring event makes a lasting impact.
“Our prayer is that each student, especially those graduating, will know that there are church bodies throughout our denomination who care, and who seek to provide young adults with ministry opportunities. These members of our faith community see Southern students as the future leaders of Adventism.”
Southern Adventist University | August 2022