Who are Seventh-day Adventists?

Thank you for visiting our website. The Seventh-day Adventist Church seeks to enhance quality of life for all people in our communities, adhering to the ideals described by the Bible. We seek to share both our faith in God and the church's commitment to the betterment of all human beings. We are a mainstream Protestant church with approximately 19 million members worldwide and more than one million members in North America. Our doors are always open to the community and to anyone who wishes to worship in one of our more than 6,200 Seventh-day Adventist congregations in North America.

General Facts

  • The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been an official denomination since 1863.
  • Membership:

    • Worldwide: 18.7 million
    • United States and Canada: 1.2  million 

  • Churches:

    • Worldwide: 148,023 congregations
    • United States and Canada: 6,257 congregations

  • Schools: The world's second largest integrated network of schools. 

    • Worldwide: 7,579 with 1.8 million students
    • United States and Canada: 852 (13 Tertiary Institutions, 111 Secondary Schools, 728 Primary Schools)

  • Hospitals: Largest Protestant integrated network of hospitals and clinics worldwide.

    • Worldwide: 627 Health care institutions, 31,772 beds/units
    • United States and Canada: 65 Hospitals, 28 Nursing and Retirement Homes, 4 Clinics/Dispensaries.

  • In 2011, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was recognized as the fastest-growing Christian denomination in North America, according to USA Today.
  • The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the most racially diverse religious group in the United States according to the Pew Research Center in its 2014 Religious Landscape Study. Of adults who identify as Seventh-day Adventist, it found that:

    • 37% are white
    • 32% are black
    • 15% are Hispanic
    • 8% are Asian
    • 8% are another race or mixed race.

Church History

Organized in 1863, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has its doctrinal roots in the “Advent Awakening” movement of the 1840s. Hundreds of thousands of Christians became convinced from their study of Bible prophecy that Christ would soon return. This re-awakening of a neglected Biblical belief occurred in many countries, with a major focus in North America.

After the “great disappointment” of their hopes in 1844, these advent believers broke up into a number of different groups. One group, studying their Bibles for increased understanding, recognized the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) as the day of worship. This group, which included Ellen and James White and Joseph Bates, became the nucleus of the church congregations that chose the name “Seventh-day Adventist Church” and organized in Battle Creek, Michigan, with 125 churches and 3,500 members.

Ellen White‘s ministry under God’s special guidance greatly influenced the development of the Adventist Church. Her counsels and messages to believers and church leaders shaped the form and progress of the church, while its beliefs have remained totally Bible-based.

Other early Adventists of note include John Harvey Kellogg, co-inventor of the “cornflake” along with his brother Will, and pioneer of the Battle Creek Sanitarium; Joseph Bates, retired sea captain and first leader of an Adventist administration; Uriah Smith, prolific author and inventor, and editor of the church’s paper for almost 50 years.

Adventist missionaries began work outside of North America in 1864, and ten years later J. N. Andrews was sent to Switzerland as the denomination’s first official missionary. In 1890, an Adventist minister began working in Russia, while in 1894 church operations commenced in Africa (Ghana and South Africa). Missionaries also arrived in South America in 1894, and in Japan in 1896. The church now operates in 209 countries and territories worldwide.

Growth from the early days has been dramatic. From the small group meeting in 1846 and the organization of the church with 3,500 believers, Seventh-day Adventists now number 18.7 million worldwide.

  1. Bible / Holy Scriptures - Ancient and timeless, a masterpiece of literature, the Holy Bible reveals God’s role in human history, our place in God’s plan, and truth to guide us and shield us from deception.
  2. The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ - God sent Jesus, His Son, to live the perfect life we could not and die the death our sins deserve. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice, we claim eternal life.
  3. Sabbath - The Sabbath is God’s gift to us, a time for rest and restoration of our connection to God and others. It reminds us of God’s creation and Jesus’ grace.
  4. Creation - God made our world with brilliant creativity and tender care. He created humanity to take care of and take pleasure in the planet, with rest and recreation in perfect balance.
  5. The Law of God (10 Commandments) - The Ten Commandments show us God’s will and love for us. Its guidelines tell how to relate to God and others. Jesus lived out the law as both our example and perfect substitute.
  6. Second Coming - We look forward to Jesus’ promised return, when He will resurrect His saved children and take them to heaven. Though we cannot know exactly when He will come back, we can live in joyful anticipation.
  7. Marriage and the Family - Created in God’s image, male and female, we are designed to live in relationships. Marriage is God’s ideal to live in harmony, and for children to grow up in security and love.

Read our complete 28 fundamental beliefs. (105kb PDF)

Videos

People Connected

The Sabbath

Creation

The Law of God

Community Outreach

General Facts

  • The Adventist Church has the largest Protestant integrated network of hospitals and clinics worldwide, with 173 hospitals and sanitariums, 294 clinics and dispensaries, and 160 lodging facilities, including nursing homes, retirement centers, orphanages, and children’s homes (as of December 2013).
  • In 2011, Adventist hospitals and clinics provided healthcare assistance to more than 19.4 million people worldwide.
  • The lifestyle of Seventh-day Adventists has been featured in National Geographic, CNN, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and The Blue Zones, a New York Times best-seller book that describes the lifestyles of the world’s longest living people.
  • One of the most significant contributions that Seventh-day Adventists have made to the effectiveness of a healthy lifestyle can be found in the publications based on the Adventist Health Studies. Begun in 1958, these studies have covered topics such as diet, air pollution, religion, and health, and have gained the sponsorship of the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the World Cancer Research Fund.
  • In addition to being one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on diet and longevity, the Adventist Health Study-2, which surveyed the lifestyle of 96,000 Adventists, is also one of the largest dietary studies of African-Americans and sheds light on why this group has more cases of cancer and heart disease than other ethnic groups in America.

Education

  • The Adventist Church has the world’s second largest integrated network of schools, with more than 7,500 schools worldwide enrolling more than 1.8 million students.
  • Since the 1850s, when the first Adventist school was formed, Adventists have believed that education should be redemptive in nature, with the purpose of restoring human beings to the image of God, our Creator. Adventist education also includes a focus on mental, physical, social, and spiritual health; as well as intellectual growth and service to humanity.

     

Health Outreach

  • The Adventist Church focuses on a “ministry of healing,” which encompasses catering to the spiritual, physical, mental, and social needs of people around the world.
  • The church held the Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. More than 750 people from 95 countries learned more information about providing improved health and spiritual care for the global community.
  • Seventh-day Adventists established a master’s degree program throughout the continent of Africa that equips pastors with comprehensive health courses. The pastors learn not only the anatomy of health, but also practical applications of the Adventist lifestyle.
  • The church developed the “Breathe-Free” program, a smoking cessation program that has helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide quit smoking. It is the official smoking cessation program of China and Taiwan.

Family Outreach

  • The Adventist Church helps nurture marriages and families because strong marriages lead to strong families, and strong families lead to strong churches, strong communities, and strong nations.
  • The church has programs and ministries to help enhance communication, problem-solving, and relationship skills.

Youth Outreach

  • The Adventist Church provides resources to lead young people into a saving relationship with Jesus and help them embrace His call to discipleship.
  • Outreach programs include the Adventurer Club (for ages 6-9) and the Pathfinder Club (for ages 10-15). These programs offer specialized weekly activities to promote psychological and spiritual development through camping, marching, community projects, vocational training, and arts and crafts.
  • Youth Outreach also provides an opportunity for more than 100 young adults from all over the world to volunteer in a major city every year for what is known as “One Year in Mission.”

Humanitarian / Community Service

Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)

  • ADRA is the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
  • ADRA provides emergency relief and development assistance to more than 120 countries. The agency strives to protect the vulnerable, support families, promote health, provide food and water, establish livelihoods, and respond to emergencies.
  • In 2012, ADRA improved the lives of nearly 20 million people around the world.
  • ADRA has also participated in international initiatives such as World Water Day. ADRA started the Beyond the 5 campaign, which raised the awareness of water inequality throughout the world. 

Religious Liberty

  • Since its founding, the Adventist Church has advocated for a clear separation between church and state. It doesn’t seek to influence political and civil leaders for the purpose of advancing the Adventist faith or inhibiting the faith of others.
  • The church’s Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty advocates for the religious freedom of all people. It advocates for religious liberty on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in the United Nations in New York City, and in other international bodies.
  • Since 1893, the Adventist Church has sponsored what is now known as the International Religious Liberty Association, a nonsectarian organization and the largest forum dedicated solely to freedom of conscience. It is the oldest religious freedom organization in the United States. This association includes involvement from Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Baptist, Mormon, and many other faith groups working together for universal religious freedom.
  • Every year, the Church sponsors an annual religious liberty dinner. Members of Congress and White House officials are invited to this leading event to promote religious liberty in Washington, D.C. Past keynote speakers have included Hillary Clinton, John McCain, John Kerry, Orrin Hatch and Senate Chaplain Barry Black.

Adventist Community Services

  • Adventist Community Services is a nonprofit humanitarian agency that services North America, Bermuda, Guam, and Micronesia
  • Adventist Community Services has six defined ministries, including community development, elder care, disaster response, tutoring and mentoring, crisis care, and the YES! (Youth Empowered to Serve) Network. 
  • ACS helps churches, schools, and individuals create, operate, and manage service-based programs in their own community through a Nonprofit Leadership Certification Program, which focuses on leadership, management, and social dimensions of evangelism.

Ellen G. White and the Seventh-day Adventist Church

  • Ellen G. White is a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church who helped shape the mission and vision of the church.
  • Adventists do not regard her as a saint, nor do they view her writings as an addition to the Bible. Her prophetic claims are tested and proven by the Bible.
  • She is the most translated American author.
  • Her total literary output is approximately 100,000 pages. More than 100 books have been published from her writings.
  • She wrote books on numerous topics, including spirituality, parenting, social issues, health, and financial counsel. All of her works point the reader to God and the Bible.
  • Her most translated book, Steps to Christ, a how-to guide on being a Christian, has been translated into more than 165 languages.
  • Smithsonian Magazine named her one of the 100 Most Significant Americans of All Time. (2014)

Media Contacts

Seventh-day Adventist Church welcomes media inquiries about the church, its beliefs, and its organizations. We are dedicated to quickly responding to your information needs and invite you to contact us with any questions. 

North American Media Inquiries

Greg Dunn

Kevin Lampe

Dan Weber

International Media Inquires