The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a mainstream Protestant church that seeks to enhance quality of life for people everywhere and to let people know that Jesus is coming again soon. The Adventist Church operates 173 hospitals and sanitariums and more than 7,500 schools around the world. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) works within communities in more than 130 countries to provide community development and disaster relief.
The roots of Adventism can be traced back to the Second Great Awakening, which inspired a spirit of revival throughout the United States in the late 1700s and early 1800s. More people had Bibles in their homes and began to study Scripture themselves rather than leaving that to the clergy.
Many biblical truths were brought back into light, such as the seventh-day Sabbath and the literal Second Coming of Christ. Tent meetings and Bible studies led people to a deeper understanding of God’s love and His plans for humanity. People began to crave a more authentic Christian walk, beyond the traditions and rituals that had been routine for so long.
Several separate groups of these devout Christians were dispersed throughout the northeastern United States. But God brought them together, and what began as the “Advent Movement” is now 20 million members strong, including more than one million members in North America.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is organized with a representative form of church government. This means authority in the Church comes from the membership of local churches. Executive responsibility is given to representative bodies and officers to govern the Church. Four levels of Church structure lead from the individual believer to the worldwide Church organization: local church, conferences, unions, and the general conference (represented by divisions). The West Exira & Elk Horn SDA Church is part of the Iowa-Missouri Conference in the Mid-America Union which is part of the North American Division of the General Conference.
For more on where the Advent movement took place in Church History, check out our "Church History After the New Testament" page