G. T. Ng, Executive Secretary
The Seventh-day Adventist Church began with a handful of Millerite Christians trying to make sense of the Great Disappointment in 1844, when Jesus did not return as expected. This small band of faithful members refused to give up their faith. They shook off their despondency and resolutely obeyed the biblical injunction to prophesy “about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” (Rev. 10:11).1
From the ashes of history an end-time movement arose. Over the succeeding decades this small Adventist group grew into a global, prophetic movement of more than 18 million members. They can be found in 216 out of the 237 countries and areas of the world recognized by the United Nations, and operate 148,023 congregations, 173 hospitals, 2,164 secondary and tertiary schools, 21 food industries, 15 media centers, and 63 publishing houses. From an unorganized group to a global church, the transformation is nothing short of a miracle!
At the first General Conference session in 1863 in Battle Creek, Michigan, 20 delegates representing six local conferences were in attendance. At that time we had a membership of 3,500 in 125 churches, with 22 ordained ministers and eight licensed ministers.
In contrast, the 60th General Conference session, in 2015, has 2,571 official delegates in attendance. They represent 18,479,257 Seventh-day Adventists from every continent. They come from 132 unions with 633 sections/missions/conferences. What God has wrought for the “little flock” has grown exponentially in 152 years!