May 3, 2019

After Just 20 New Churches in 55 Years, Taiwan Adventists Are Ready for a Change

Northern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review

After seeing a dismal church growth rate in the past five decades, Seventh-day Adventists in Taiwan are committed to reversing that trend and supporting evangelistic efforts across the island, regional church leaders said.

One of the first steps will be to increase the coordination of joint evangelistic activities in July 2019.

In 2018, at a mid-year meeting in Sapporo, Japan, leaders of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) approved the “Total Member Involvement Evangelism 2019” project for Taiwan. As part of this project, the decision was made to hold simultaneous evangelistic meetings at 16 local churches in the Taiwan Conference (TWC) church region. NSD officers, directors, and staff are set to serve as speakers.

The NSD director of Adventist Mission, Min Ho Joo, recently planned a plenary meeting with Taiwan pastors to prepare and pray together for Total Member Involvement (TMI) Evangelism 2019. In late February 2019, all 16 local pastors of the churches that will be involved in the simultaneous evangelistic meetings met with NSD directors and staff.

In the opening worship, TWC president Noah Lai spoke about the significance of mission in Taiwan. “There are still very few Adventists compared to the whole population of Taiwan,” he said. “And the Taiwan Adventist Church has been growing slowly.”

Lai reported that in 1962, Taiwan had 92 churches; in 2017, that number had increased to 112 churches. Over the past 55 years, only 20 new Seventh-day Adventist churches had been planted. This shows, he said, that the Adventist Church is barely growing in Taiwan.

In his sermon, NSD president Si Young Kim talked about how to deliver the gospel to the Taiwanese people. He reminded the audience about the successful ways Jesus reached out to people and said it is a model to follow. “The church must understand and fill people’s needs,” he said.

TWC Global Mission coordinator Joseph Ma reported on how each church in Taiwan has been preparing for TMI Evangelism 2019. He talked about the whole process of successful evangelism from the planning stages to the evangelistic meeting itself.

Joo, who is also in charge of the Mission to the Cities project, gave a presentation on how to make public evangelism effective and successful. He introduced the combination of a missional church with an attractional church.

“A missional church underscores where a church is headed and shows the love of Jesus by meeting the felt needs of those in the community,” Joo explained. “On the other hand, an attractional church is bent on inviting people to come and see.”

In the afternoon, each local church reported on their plans for the evangelistic meetings. Before wrapping up the prayer meeting, Kim and all NSD directors participated in placing a pin on each local pastor’s jacket.

Regional church leaders also visited local churches to meet members and share with them as Adventists across the country prepare to reverse the trend of low growth.

The original version of this story was posted on the North Asia-Pacific Division news site.