Sunday, January 4, 2015

LCG Releases Mind-Boggling Church Attendance Numbers of God's Most Highly Favored Church EVER!

Its always fun to watch those  wild and crazy guys in Charlotte at Living Church of God's HQ react to postings on this blog.

Stung by repeated postings and comments about the shrinking size of LCG congregations Bob League reported the other day the mind-boggling size of several LCG congregations.  The size of these congregations are unprecedented in COG history!  Be impressed brethren!  God's greatest restored church is the biggest and bestest ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LCG publishes list of ten largest congregations.  

1. Charlotte North Carolina 258  
2. Kansas City Missouri 195  
3. Chaguanas Trinidad 128  
4. Ft. Lauderdale Florida 116
5. Houston Texas 115

6. Dallas Texas 113  
7. Phoenix Arizona 107  
8. Quezon City Metro Manila, Philippines 99
9. Kingston Jamaica 96 

10. Christ Church Barbados 94
Years ago a Worldwide Church of God accounting executive said that they could make statistics mean any thing they wanted and the brethren would never know fact from fiction.  This was during the time they claimed to have 8,000,000 PT subscribers and 144,000 members.  That very same person went on to stab WCG in the back and followed Meredith into the epic failure of Global Church of God and then on into Living Church of God.

From congregations in the mother church of 400-800 members in various parts of the country to 195 as the max for a field church in LCG....there is NOTHING impressive about that!  The LCG Charlotte congregation doesn't count because the majority of these are paid staff and family of HQ and they are REQUIRED to attend services.

The glory days of Armstrongism are over and not one single apostate COG will EVER accomplish the things that Herbert Armstrong did. EVER!


Anonymous said...

so, having a large congregation makes you right?

old EXPCG hag said...

I'm stating a late bloomer COG...It's called THE JACKMAN CHURCH OF GOD (JCOC) and see the abrev. is a subtle mind play because of the JC (Jesus Christ)...see...trickery!

Silence said...

What's worse, these numbers likely don't reflect only baptized, tithe-paying members who show up to church. It likely counts little kids sitting on the floor coloring during services too.

"Congregation size," "membership," and "attendance" are all different numbers that can vary wildly. So on the subject of number manipulation, they're probably reaching for the high end, which would be average weekly attendance since children, teens and the otherwise unbaptized inflate the stats.

Unknown said...

Some interesting extrapolations can be culled from these numbers.

If you take the top USA congregations, and take out Charlotte as an outlier statistic because it is the LCG's headquarters, total the membership and then measure this against the metro populations as a whole, you can estimate how many LCG members there are in the whole USA.

Of the KC, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Dallas and Phoenix areas there are a total of 646 LCG members out of a total population in those metros of 24.43 Million people.

When compared to the entire USA population of 320 Million people, and *IF* LCG had a similar percentage of the population coming to church as in those areas, the figure comes to 8,456 LCG members attending in the USA.

HOWEVER- one has to discount the fact that these listed congregations are the TOP LCG franchises, and special circumstances for a variety of historical and demographic reasons. It is interesting how all of these congregations are south of the Mason/Dixon line and tend to be in the Bible belt for instance.

It is probably fair to discount the above mentioned 8456 number by a third, to account for a normal distribution of returns and for lower performing areas. Similar to guessing how many marbles are in the bottle, I would estimate that total USA population for the LCG is in the neighborhood of 5,900.

That number would match up with the income statements as well, with an average COG attendee (Man/Woman and Child) worth about $2000 a year in tithes and offerings. That number seems to hold true across all COG corporate lines.

5900 is a fair and reasoned estimate for the USA attendance of the LCG.

Anonymous said...

in the days of Saul of tarsus the Church of God's numbers were certainly minuscule in comparison to the cult of dianna.

even Christ said His Followers must enter the narrow gate for wide is the way that leads to destruction.


Byker Bob said...

Since these figures are being published as a matter of pride, I believe the basic assumption would be that these cities represent the best, the largest of their congregations. If that is the case, it would have been better for them to have said nothing.

As a young child, I remember sitting in the services in the large tabernacle in Big Sandy for the F/T in the late 1950s. If memory serves me correctly, there were about 5,000 attendees that year, and it was a show of force, of numbers that were on an upswing, because in our midst were old timers from Belnap Springs, and from more recent feasts in the "old tabernacle", the redwood building which was now being used as the dining hall.

On one of the days, possibly the day of the "business meeting", HWA asked for a show of hands as he called out the major cities, and a large number of the people were what was considered to be "scattered brethren", people whose numbers could not yet justify a local church and salaried minister. In fact, most of the cities east of Chicago not as yet had local church areas. It was a big thing when in the early '60s there might be over 100 people in a given major city so that a local church would be started. While it may not have been official policy, it seemed that 100 was probably considered the bare minimum for "raising up a church", and many of the congregants came in from smaller surrounding suburbs, cities, and farming communities.

The point is, there was tremendous optimism in those days not because of the perhaps 100-150 people in a local congregation, but because of the radio stations that were regularly being added to the log in the PT, because of the annual increase in numbers at the Feast, because of reports from the annual summer baptizing tours which were conducted by ministers and senior AC students, and because on a fairly regular basis, we would see new people walking in the front door of our local congregation. There was also street buzz, and acknowledgement of the World Tomorrow broadcast, and HWA wasn't just "another one of those radio preachers", he was the top in his field of those days, amongst others such as Billy Graham, AA Allen, Kathryn Kuhlman, and Oral Roberts.

In other words, these were not the final days of a downward spiral, nervously spent watching a lackluster or overall contracting trend, there was growth and optimism. The disappointment of 1972-1975 was as yet still about 15 years off, and there was no need for spin or the "embellished" growth figures which came later.

In retrospect, this "exciting" growth was all for nought. It meant that more children were going to be subjected to horrible abuse, that more people were going to die from totally curable ailments. It meant that more regular members were going to have to try to live in the face of paranoia about the Germans, to secede from loving families, and possibly even suffer the breakup of viable second marriages. It meant that people who could normally live middle class lifestyles were going to be kicked down below the poverty level by the three tithe system, that kids would grow up as social misfits, pariahs amongst their peers. It often left young people with the option of Ambassador College or no college, regardless of aptitudes, talents, and abilities. The implications to peoples' existence on planet Earth were just staggering.

They can say what they want with their statistics, but the present is hardly the glory days!


Former Union NJ member said...

I remember the days when the Union, New Jersey congregation of the WWCG had to have morning and afternoon services to accomodate around 1000 attendees.
Long gone days

Anonymous said...

These numbers do not reflect LCG's true numbers. They do count children now and anyone else who walks thru the door. And if anyone leaves LCG. They are kept on the rolls and counted unless they call and request that they are taken off. As of about a year age... I do not know about now...the whole Scarborough family were still on the count (that is over 80 or 90 people) even though Rod Meredith was continuing his personal vendetta against the entire family.And had disfellowshipped every man woman and child of the entire family. So it is impossible that Kansas City has that many people. According to some who live in KC they are down to about 150 or less. It just goes to show what lies they are telling.

Priam said...

The hyperbolic, exaggerated language of Dennis' second paragraph bears absolutely no comparison with the matter-of-fact, simple way these figures were reported in LCG's newsletter.

Dennis, your writing reflects the character of your mind. Please tell us if, in your opinion, such writing also reflects the pure mind of Jesus Christ. Remember it's the pure in heart who will see God. I'm trying to help you here.

Anonymous said...

UCG releases a few numbers a couple weeks ago and now LCG releases its Top Ten. Interesting how LCG likes to compare itself against other COG's. I guess 2 Corinthians 10:12 doesn't come to mind. As of late, they have been on a "Look how big, how united" kick which usually is a smokescreen for something.

NO2HWA said...

Dennis did not write this blog entry, I did. It is a matter of FACT that the COG has had a long tradition in manipulating numbers in order to reflect growth. Members jumping from one COG organization to another is NOT an increase in numbers. As for several LCG churches being composed of largely nonCOG background members is a load of hooey. Just look at UCG's latest media campiGne that cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars and result d in possibly ONE new member. That is nothing to be proud of and is similar to the nonsense LCG does claiming great growth.

Anonymous said...

Compared to what?

Let's see the statistics for all the LCG congregations and how they have changed each year over the full range of time Living has existed.

In isolation, these stats really mean nothing.

Byker Bob said...

We should probably revisit the main factors involved in a personality cult.

A personality cult, much the same as performing artists, rests on the star quality and drawing power of the performer who has popularized it. What fueled the growth of Herbert Armstrong's chuch, and what kept that church together for so many years was the star quality of HWA, and for so long as he did his father's bidding, the star quality of his "clone", GTA.

For many reasons, the music industry puts together tribute bands, also known as impersonators. Sometimes, these involve some of the original people who were part of the success of the "star" or group who was the main proponent. Other times, students, people who took the time to study the material and style of the original commit to keeping that music alive. This, to one degree or another, becomes the way in which they earn their livings, and it keeps the art alive for fans

There is one truth, however. The tribute group, or impersonator never becomes as famous as the original. There have been cases where people who begin as impersonators develop their own style and material, and who become equally popular and famous as the original (like perhaps Hank Williams, Jr.) but for the most part, there are natural limiting factors, a glass ceiling. Survivors from the World War II generation might enjoy the nostalgia of ballroom dancing to the music of a Glenn Miller tribute orchestra, but this music was created for and directly related to a entirely different time, set of circumstances, and culture. It is not about to revive as the latest trend, unless someone could figure out a way to morph it into hip hop.

The ACOG splinter groups of today are one thing, and one thing only. They are nostalgia tribute groups to HWA. It is not even reasonable to expect that any would grow to the size or scope of old school, classic, WCG, because it's not the music that is the draw. It is who performed the music, and the time period in which it was performed that was the draw. Like Harry Connick Jr. doing Sinatra, there is going to be limited appeal, marginalized to a specific demographic, not a universality that cuts across lines. HWA's original teachings were very marginal in appeal to begin with, were most definitely time, world circumstance, and science of the day related, and enforced by his own unique brand of anger and chutzpah.

Still, every once in a while, it can be enjoyable to relive an era by escaping into the performance of a Pink Floyd tribute band...


Anonymous said...


Is it Christlike to lie about numbers? Wouldn't that be hyperbolic and exaggerated?

~Miguel de la Rodente

old EXPCG hag said...

Priam said...

The hyperbolic, exaggerated language of Dennis' second paragraph bears absolutely no comparison with the matter-of-fact, simple way these figures were reported in LCG's newsletter.

Dennis, your writing reflects the character of your mind. Please tell us if, in your opinion, such writing also reflects the pure mind of Jesus Christ. Remember it's the pure in heart who will see God. (I'm trying to help you here.)

January 4, 2015 at 10:33 AM

...(I'm trying to help you here). Really? Are you...I'm dumb, tell me. Or are you just helping yourself to appear righteous? Famous last words of all psychopaths..."I was just trying to help!">MYSELF< It's like when people say..."I'll pray for you". How many times have you heard that lie? Besides if you were so UP THERE with God, you wouldn't be DOWN HERE posting with us! "Only the pure in heart will see God, remember!" Better start working on that, ONDELAY!

Redfox712 said...

In regards to WCG's claim that the Plain Truth had a circulation of 8 million I read a book, Discovering the Plain Truth (1996). It was written by two Lutheran ministers who interviewed the leaders of Tkach's WCG. They were told that the circulation of The Plain Truth only ever rose to 6 million.

"There is some discrepancy in figures concerning the circulation of The Plain Truth. Some claim that 8.2 million copies were circulated at one point. We called the WCG administration to ask. They said that the highest circulation rose to slightly over six million." (Larry Nichols and George Mather, Discovering the Plain Truth, p. 39.)

So it would appear that The Plain Truth never even had 8 million in circulation. Even that figure may have been a huge deception.

Anonymous said...

Redfox712 said:

In regards to WCG's claim that the Plain Truth had a circulation of 8 million...

I don't know where the figure of 8 million came from but I worked in Data Processing and I'm confident that the number that was printed on the masthead was accurate for the number of copies mailed out (give or take a few thousand since the figure changed daily). I don't remember the figures anymore but I believe that circulation peaked at 6 million.

Notice that I said "the number of copies mailed out" and not "the number of copies read". When income growth slowed down in the mid 1970s GTA decided to purge the mailing list by requiring anyone who was not a member, coworker, or donor to return a postcard affirming that they wanted to continue receiving the PT. They had never undertaken a purge before; prior to this once a person had been added to the mailing list they continued getting the PT until they requested that they be removed from the list, the Post Office notified them that the subscriber had moved with no forwarding address, or someone wrote saying they were deceased.

The expectation was that the majority of readers would continue their subscription; in fact only about a quarter did and the circulation plummeted.

If you want to dispute a claim about the PT readership, you should question their claim about the average number of people who read each copy. (I think it was around two people per copy.) The renewal surprise showed that most copies weren't read by anyone so the average number of readers per copy was probably less than one.

Byker Bob said...

I had a really good crew staffing the mailing system, and excellent equipment at Ambassador Press between 1970-76. We addressed all of the Plain Truths and Tomorrow's World magazines. To address, sort, tie, and bag these publications, we were normally able to average somewhere near 20,000 magazines per hour.

There is no way we would have been able to process 8 million magazines per month at that time, as that would have required 50 days of 8 hour shifts. 6 million would have required 37-1/2 days. We normally did not run a second shift, except on an emergency basis.

When the W.A. Krueger Co. purchased AC Press, the Plain Truth went to a quarter-folded tabloid newspaper format. At that point, much of it was brokered out to another pro-mail shop, as Krueger began doing Business Week, the Horchau Catalogue, and publications for the Church of Scientology (which unfortunately, my protege actually joined at that point). No matter, he has won Academy Awards for his coloration work in the intervening years, but I digress!

If there ever was an 8 million piece monhly circulation, it would probably have been in the 1980's during the Reagan recovery from the 1970s' recessions. The magazine format had returned by that point in time. And, that would also have been timed with the "Newsstand" program, when they had these things outside of just about any of the major supermarkets. The dumb fools probably never realized that there were activists who removed the contents of these free newsracks, and dumped them in the nearest dumpsters. Even so, I'm thinking that an 8 million piece figure would still be excessive. When we were printing them, cost was 35 cents per copy, in the college's own controlled, captive press facility. 8 million copies would have cost $2,800,000 per month before postage! That's $33 mil per year, without postage!


Unknown said...

The Eight Million PTs were a temporary spike that happened in the mid 1980s.

About two to 3 million of these were newsstand distributed.

The actual "baseline" for subscribers topped out at around 5 million, again during that brief spike period just before the death of HWA.

The actual average for the period of 1975 to 1990 was near 3 million.

Anonymous said...

So what's the attendance in Gotham and Metropolis?

Anonymous said...

In that spiked Plain Truth distribution time frame, I went to get a jacket cleaned, and saw a big bunch of Plain Truths in a rack on the counter at the dry cleaners.
The thingy they were in said they were free, so I grabbed the whole lot of them and went outside and chucked them all in a dumpster.

I'm guessing other people engaged in similar goodwill gestures to help clean up Herbie's puke (or to simply lessen their heating costs), and that would have affected the numbers.

Priam said...

Black Ops Mikey wrote:

"In isolation, these stats really mean nothing"

Well, that's not correct. They convey information about the recent attendance at LCG's ten largest congregations. That's it!

Anonymous said...

Things are tough all over. Malcolm Young had to retire from ACDC because he's suffering from dementia, and Ginger Baker of Cream is 75 years old and has spinal arthritis and COPD. So, even the hippies these people had constantly complained about are facing old age and meager pickings! Still no "Assyrians"!

~Miguel de la Rodente

Anonymous said...

LCG, UCG, COGWA, PCG, RCG...they all have 92 here, 53 there, another 14 over there...because their members somehow think they're holding fast, to something.

Yet RCG broke away from LCG for not holding fast. COGWA did the same from UCG. UCG booted Hulme years ago for being, apparently, less than Christian in his leadership. One of Pack's former lieutenants, Venish, hammers away at old Dave on a regular basis. Peter Nathan defected from Hulme and landed with Meredith. PCG is just one big delusion, founded as it is on Flurry's plagiarism of another guy's nutty theories about HWA, Tkach, etc. Larry Salyer might as well have founded the Whatever Church of God, for all the organizations he's bounced around with. And so on, and so on, and so on...

"Follow me as I follow Christ," they all presume to say, even as they don't walk together because, well, they aren't agreed. One might conclude that they never really were.

"Fruit." Exactly.