Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Mind Blowing Significance of Dave Pack and the Restored Church of God

A reader comments on Dave:

And let us understand world history in this theology version. So God the Father sent Jesus Christ to be born of the Virgin Mary to die on a stake to build a church with the 12 most famous men in religious history - The Apostles - but somehow in just years lost the Gospel for 1900 years to raise up Herbert Armstrong to build an empire in California that would completely collapse and get sold off and have next to no impact in the grand scheme of religious history - just so the focus of all of church history and the rest of the book of Acts in this 21st century can center on one man in a little Ohio town to center all of the spiritual efforts on Earth on a little town in NE Ohio building an office complex and a half hour cable program headquarters next to some transmission lines and a four way intersection near some retail stores? Oh, how the people of that town must completely miss the shining beacon of all of salvation? Oh those people getting gas at the gas station, how sorry I feel for them! They miss the amazing, incredible center of all the action of the Universe - right there! Oh, but you might get called on for trespass to approach it and talk to the most Important Man In The World without an invite maybe and possibly, so it's been reported? What a strange universe Armstrongism is it seems? But it seems less then 2,000 people get it? Right? Is this how it is? ;)


Anonymous said...

Ah, but Jesus predicted that His Church would be a little flock!

So, what do you do with a little flock? Dave knows: YOU FLEECE IT!

Corky said...

Jesus did NOT predict that his 'church' would be a little flock. He called the 12 disciples his little flock (Luke 12:32).

Anonymous said...

But there are soooooooooo many of these shining beacons of salvation, from Simon Magus and Bar Kochba, to Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Sun Myung Moon.

There are lists on Wikipedia of Jewish and Christian numbskulls who have claimed to be either messiah or Jesus himself. (Islam has its own set of loonies.) Neither Herbert nor any of the shining stars in his firmament even make the crazy list. In the grand scheme of things, Herbert Armstrong and all those self-appointed false prophets and apostles that taken up his mantle, are mild and unremarkable.

Herbert was meteoric, but in the grand scheme, only mildly successful. The Mormons had a lot of the same catchphrases in the 19th century as WCG did in the 20th, but surveys indicate they have about 6 million members. L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology probably makes more money off of each member than WCG did, and according to religious surveys, they're still above 30,000 globally in the mother church, despite the fact that Hubbard died just eight days after Armstrong did.

News Flash: just because you can get people to follow you and give you their cash for no particularly good reason, this alone doesn't make you god, a prophet, or an apostle. Not so far at least.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the next guy over the horizon will be the real deal.

Joe Moeller said...

HWA started with 19 people about 80 years ago.

There are about 25k people today who are Sabbatarians who can trace some type of lineage back to that 1934 beginning.

The compounded rate of return of member growth is therefore 9.39% annually.

The rate of return on the SP 500 over the equivalent period of time (with dividends reinvested) is nearly exactly the same as that, from 1934 to present.

Thus we can say that Armstrongism has grown at a
rate equivalent to American industry which is not out of the ordinary.

What we can also add, is that the period from 1950 to 1970, where the bulk of the WCG was grown, was a type of "bubble market", much like the late 1990s internet stock boom, or the early 2000s real estate bubble.

Markets that are growing at 30 to 40% annual growth rates for a number of years, ALWAYS blowoff and collapse. 9% is the historical norm for markets and return on capital. WCG was a speculative bubble that was levitating on a unique period of time and space... that of Cold War terror and limited , captive audience, communciation through both radio and TV.

Companies expanding at such high rates of return end up hiring less than trained personnel, and also start to face the dilution factor of new competitors coming into their market share, especially if the margins are so good in the expansion. In effect, they sow the seeds of their own destruction.

What you see in the COG today is a normal correction phase of an inflated market, and a normal market shakeout. Much like the internet boom, the hundreds of companies that had no real business plans and no real markets will eventually fade away. The same goes for the miniature coglets. The hundreds of little websites around will slowly be disappearing over the years.

Eventually, mature market places tend to settle down into perhaps two major players, and two more lesser players, for a total of all four controlling 90% of the marketplace. This has happened in finance, airlines, automaking , trucking and many other industries. It is the nature of things.

The COG is going through a major cyclical market cycle, with the boom top being somewhere around 1995. In the long economic cycles of wave theory, within a 75 year cycle, about one third of it is actually moving backwards. This means 25 years of consolidation, backing and filling, and shakeout per each long cycle. This implies that perhaps the bottom in the COG marketplace might be in finding footing at around 2020 or so.

We shall see.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

Joe, so the idiot leadership of the UCG that recently split in half over a few cows is the result of the burst of a "bubble market"?

Please show there was substantial growth in the UCG before that bubble burst.

You can't!

The fact is, the UCG was experiencing ZERO or negative growth in the time leading up to their leaders' bubbleheads bursting over a few cows!

Anonymous said...

Joe, there is one problem in your astute observations: Demand.

The majority of "customers" in the COG "business" are older. The customer base is dwindling. There is not a high enough "market share" of youth to replace the dwindling share of the market that are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. There is very little replacement backfilling to compensate for the natural order of life which will further dwindle the Armstrong Customer Base of former Worldwiders.

The evidence of the failure to attract new "customers" to their business is statistically shown by lack of growth by "new customers". Instead, we have people who used Prego switching to Ragu and Ragu switching to Prego, not a new person who has never eaten spaghetti looking for either Prego or Ragu.

Therefore, if something does not change, and fast, what you will find is the entire base dwindling rapidly as time goes on. There is very little appeal to youth to join the movement. Therefore, I'm not certain your entire theory is reality. There just isn't a large core audience to backfill the core customer base once they age and natural causes cause the market base to be both youth and new recruits. Both are just not attracted to Armstrongism whatsoever, and any growth is always offset by internet information causing potential recruits to rethink and usually avoid.

Joe Moeller said...

In response to Anon above:

Religion, for the most part, is an older person thing, regardless of denomination. Of course there are exceptions here, but I speak in the demographic manner here.

You do not have to replace your 50,60,70 year olds with 20s or 30s. You can replace your old people with NEW old people, LOL!

The baby boomer curve is just now hitting retirement. It represents a huge market, and a market that is at an age where there is "mid life crisis", and a grappling with the meaning of life, death and the like. It is a ripe market for religious marketing.

Ive done some demo studies, using life insurance tables and the like, and COG age patterns, and current new baptism statistics.

There is a "stable point" at around 20 years out, with a major group like UCG, being about 1/2 its current size at that time. It will likely be centered around the same cities that currently have major league baseball franchises.

It should be sustainable at that level with current demos and recruiting numbers. COG 7th day, is stable here in the USA at about 7k members, and has been for decades with very little marketing.

The paid minister model will be jettisoned sometime between then and now, or at least phased out. This will be an interesting thing to see accomplished.

Not ragging on my own group here, but there are certain physical realities. Those of you who are hoping that somehow the COG will just magically disappear forever, will be disappointed. Look, there are still Amish, and Hutterites, or Shakers hanging around 200 years after the fact.

Sabbatarianism is a marketable rational idea, and it will continue. It may not be from a lineage descended from HWA, but it will find root.

The biggest untapped market is the third world. The COG of the future will actually not be based in the USA , but rather in the third world, perhaps Africa or even India or China. COG 7th Day has well over 100k members in the 2nd and 3rd worlds currently.

As the world becomes more secular, all religion will seem to be less relevant, again regardless to denomination. God is more relevant to the poor, and the down and out, than it is to those that have modern convenience and materialism. Perhaps we really are the Laodiceans.

Your Friend,
Joe Moeller

Byker Bob said...

Dave Pack has racked up an international reputation as having very repulsive negative personality traits, and that weighs heavily against the growth which he idolizes and craves.

The fact is, his plight is not unlike that of the old Warner Bros. cartoon, "Pepe Le Pew", who lives a lifestyle of going around seeking love and acceptance only to find that everyone shuns him and flees.

The fact is, who would willingly acquiesce to the likes of Pack, or anyone else whose definition of spiritual guidance is intrusive domineering, and that with just incredibly tight legalistic standards to the point where there is probably a proper way and Satan's way of even taking a crap!