Ministry, the Adventist journal for pastors, published what it costs to make one Adventist convert. S. Joseph Kidder (no kidding) dropped the bomb in his article "Reflections on the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America: The long view of church growth."

Research findings show disturbing trends in church growth in the North American Division (NAD).

"If we take the number of NAD converts as a percent of the population rate of growth," Kidder explained, "the church is experiencing a decline in growth." He went on to report, "The growth pattern also shows that it takes more and more members to produce one convert (30, as opposed to 13).

Kidder then got to the bottom line: "In addition, we now spend up to about $42,000 per conversion; this is up from about $8000 (2005 U.S. dollars) in 1948." (Ministry, February 2011, pg. 13).

But, here is an observation from someone who is more detached: It really costs more when you figure that in many places 1 out of every 3 Adventists converts falls away within a few years.

If I were in Adventist leadership, I'd phase out of the conversion business, and go into something a lot more profitable – like health care. Oh, I guess they've already thought of that.

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