Fifty years ago the Seventh-day Adventist Church began for the first time in annual statistical reports to count separately during audits members who had left the church or who could not be found. Previously, only accessions to the church (baptisms and professions of faith) had been separately accounted for.
We now have 50 years of data on both how many people have joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church and how many church members have left. The former are the figures that we usually emphasize in reports, but the statistics of loss (which do not include deaths) are shocking and demand action.
During the past 50 years (1965–2014) a grand total of 33,202,016 people have been members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Of these, however, 13,026,925 have left the church (see Figure 1).
The loss rate per 100 converts is 41—a constant hemorrhage that negatively affects church growth despite the steady influx of new converts.
The contrast between accessions and losses is brought out clearly in Figure 2, which shows annual figures.
In sum: our net loss rate is 39.25 percent
In effect, four out of every 10 church members have slipped away over the past half century.