In their book, “Light Bearers: A History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” authors Richard W. Schwarz and Floyd Greenleaf, described the rapid early expansion of the church in the United States and across the globe. Among those targeted by early Seventh-day Adventist believers -- predominantly white Protestants from the New England area -- were Scandinavian and German immigrants in Iowa, Minnesota and the Great Plains states.
“… For the first quarter of a century following the Great Disappointment, Seventh-day Adventists had only a limited concept of proclaiming their message to the entire world,” the authors wrote. “It was such a huge task. Time was so short. The missionary endeavors of much larger and better-financed churches had proven woefully disappointing.”
“And so they rationalized that their distinctive truths need be presented to all the world only through token contact with all the races and languages of mankind. Could not this be done right in America, where God in His providence had collected persons of all religions and nationalities?”
Fueled by such sentiments, church leaders frantically published tracts in French, German and Dutch, as well as monthly Danish and Swedish journals. They also began proselytizing to Native Americans, former African slaves and some Hindu and Chinese immigrants.
However, it was through the prophetic ministry of Ellen G. White, the church’s most prominent co-founder, that the denomination began to see the potential for global ministry. In 1848, White had a vision in which she was shown that her husband, James White, should publish a “little paper.” After regaining consciousness, White said she had been shown that it would start out small, eventually becoming as “streams of light” around the world.
|Top Adventist World Regions - 2017||Percent of SDA Population|
|Latin America and Caribbean
Beginning in the 19th century, Adventist missionaries began to fan out across the globe, starting in Europe with the ministry of M.B. Czechowski, a former Roman Catholic priest native to Poland. In 1885, SDA missionaries left the U.S. for Australia, where they began the continent’s first Adventist evangelical meetings. During the 1890s, the denomination reached South America.