The Seventh-day Adventist church grew in the mid 1840s during the Second Great Awakening, a time of religious revival in the United States. Its first members came from the Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Christian Connection congregations, but over the following decades the denomination has grown into a worldwide church with millions of members. The church is well known for its excellence in healthcare, education, and human service activities.
From the very beginning, Adventists have focused on the importance of education and healthcare in improving people’s lives. In fact, Adventists run the next-largest denominational education system in the world, second only to Catholic schools. Adventist hospitals and clinics are also numerous, including Florida Hospital, America’s busiest hospital. You’ll find at least one Adventist healthcare center in many major metropolitan areas in North America. Adventists are also active providing schools and hospitals where they are needed around the world.
The Adventist Lifestyle
One of the founding principles of the Adventist church is a healthy lifestyle—a balanced combination of exercise, diet, and trust in God. Adventists are generally vegetarian, and do not smoke or drink alcohol. They operate successful stop-smoking clinics worldwide. Loma Linda, California, a primarily Adventist community, was recently named by researcher Dan Buettner a “blue zone” or “longevity oasis” where the residents not only have the longest life expectancy on earth, but are happier and healthier, too.
Today the worldwide Adventist church has over 15 million members in more than 200 countries. Adventists operate 7200+ schools worldwide with nearly 1.5 million students. They also run 168 hospitals worldwide, 138 nursing homes and retirement centers, 442 clinics and dispensaries, and 34 orphanages and children’s homes. In addition, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International, a disaster relief organization, funds over 2,400 projects in 112 countries.