“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who hears say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.”

—Revelation 22:17, NRSV

The Seventh-day Adventist Church
has officially published many encouraging statements welcoming all people.


“As imitators of Jesus we welcome all people, inviting them into our faith communities and sacrificially serving them. . . . Modeling the love of Jesus Christ, Adventists welcome people from all walks of life to join them for Sabbath School, the worship service, the communion service, Bible study groups, and other church-based activities.”

—North American Division Statement on Human Sexuality (Nov. 2, 2015)

“A religion that would lead us to be careless of human need, suffering or rights, is a spurious religion. In slighting the claims of the poor, the suffering, and the sinful, we are proving ourselves traitors to Christ.”

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 137

Christ sought by precept and example to teach the truth that with God there was to be no dividing wall between Israel and other nations (John 4:4-42, 10:16; Luke 9:51-56; Matt. 15:21-28). The apostle Paul writes, ‘The Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel’ (Eph. 3:6).

“Nor is there to be among Christ’s followers any preference of caste or nationality or race or color, for all are of one blood. The elect of God are a universal brotherhood, a new humanity, ‘all one in Christ Jesus’ (Gal. 3:28).

—“No Wall of Partition” in Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual

“Christ came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment of the temple, that every soul may have free access to God. . . . In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free. All are brought nigh by His precious blood.”

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 386

“We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all.”

—Seventh-day Adventist Church Fundamental Belief “Unity in Christ”


In practice, however, Adventist churches at times have been exclusive and repellent. We have closed doors to people who didn’t behave like us or think like us or look like us. We have cared more about being right than about being kind. We have confused acceptance with agreement. We have been too motivated by fear. We have turned away thirsty seekers of the free water of life.

Now is the time to be more intentional concerning the openness and warmth of our local church climates. As important as a mission or vision, a welcoming statement gives the church a face.

Below is a list of Seventh-day Adventist churches that have published a church welcoming statement. The breadth and richness of approaches is inspiring.

It was said of Jesus, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Fortunately “sinners” includes every one of us.) He lived and died with arms open wide in love to all. A similar welcome is extended by these churches.

Colorado Springs Central Church

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Glendale City Church

Glendale, California

Healing Hope Seventh-day Adventist Fellowship

Portland, Oregon

Hollywood Adventist Church

Hollywood, California

Kellyville Adventist Church

North Kellyville, NSW, Australia

Kettering Seventh-day Adventist Church

Kettering, Ohio

La Sierra University Church of Seventh-day Adventists

Riverside, California

Long Beach Seventh-day Adventist Church

Long Beach, California

Markham Woods Church of Seventh-day Adventists

Longwood, Florida

New Hope Church

Fulton, Maryland

North Creek Christian Fellowship

Snohomish, Washington

Portland Adventist Community Services

Portland, Oregon

San Luis Obispo Adventist Church

San Luis Obispo, California

Summit Northwest Ministries

Post Falls, Idaho

Tierrasanta Seventh-day Adventist Church

San Diego, California

Toledo First Seventh-day Adventist Church

Toledo, Ohio

treff21 Heimberg SDA Church


WholeLife Church

Orlando, Florida

Woollahra Seventh-day Adventist Church

Woollahra, New South Wales, Australia

Worthington Seventh-day Adventist Church

Worthington, Ohio

To add to this list, please email a link or screenshot showing a welcoming statement on the church’s website or bulletin to OpenDialogueResources@gmail.com.

“‘Look, I have set before you an open door,
which no one is able to shut.’”

—Revelation 3:8, NRSV

Panel 1

Creating a Welcoming Statement


The best church welcoming statements are:
  • specific
  • prominent
  • attractive
  • accessible
  • personalized
  • concise
  • produced through open church conversations
Questions to ask before crafting a welcoming statement:
  1. Is your congregation happily open to having all people attend worship services, Bible studies, Sabbath School classes, potlucks, and prayer meetings? This invitation includes people of every race, appearance, belief system, sexual orientation, nation, gender, economic level, age, and ability.

    If the majority prayerfully says No, then your church is not ready for a welcoming statement yet. This is a call to spend time with your congregation discipling them in the ministry of hospitality.

    If the church majority prayerfully says Yes, incorporating “welcoming” in a statement is appropriate. And using “inclusive” is acceptable if you define when and where participation is welcomed. It is important to define what “inclusive,” “loving,” or “accepting” in your congregation looks like.

  2. In the Seventh-day Adventist Church there are no “black churches” or “white churches” or “brown churches.” People of any skin color can be an intrinsic part of any Adventist church—otherwise it’s not really Adventist. Does your church welcome and include in the life of the church all ethnicities?

  3. What about others on life’s margins? The divorced, the “shut-ins,” the chronically depressed, the new mothers, the smokers and drinkers, the ones existing from paycheck to paycheck, the cynical, the tattooed, the tactless, the hopeless? Do they know that they are loved unconditionally and welcomed absolutely?

  4. Do your church leaders agree that in the eyes of God your LGBT+ friends are equal in value to straight, cisgender people? Ask an LGBT+ person, “Are we a welcoming church?”

  5. To what degree are youth and young adults in your church invited to be vitally involved? Research shows that congregations with high levels of youth involvement are the ones most likely to be growing. Do young people, who come from their own culture, feel unabashedly welcomed? Are they given ample responsibility, creative input, and trust?

    In this time of authentic revival and reformation, when the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit blows where it will, any movement by your congregation toward hospitality is something to celebrate!

“‘Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.”

—Matthew 22:9, 10, NIV

Panel 2