Friday, July 12, 2019

UCG Still Struggling To Attract New Members


United Church of God has long been trying to be the most relevant Church of God splinter group out there. And yet, 25 years later they still cannot find their place. Even with having, what they claim is, the 13th most popular religious web site in the world, they still struggle to find new members.  As their present leadership retires and the membership ages, they cannot replace them with new younger members.  Still operating on a 1970/1980's model for television, they struggle to make their three presenters actually present topics that anyone cares about in 2019.  They recently dumped a ton of money on a new television recording studio, and they are hoping this will be their savior.

From Church of God News:


Media Director, Peter Eddington, states that, “UCG.org is currently ranked by Alexa as the 13th most popular religious denomination website in the world. Last year, the UCG.org website received over 10 million unique visitors and 99.8 percent were non-members.”
UCG is by far the highest ranked ex-WCG organization, having an Alexa ranking similar to the SDA, whose membership is over 100 times larger than the WCG at its peak.
UCG’s outreach to new people is thus exceptional – but how many of these become members?
Treasurer Rick Shabi reports that, “The Days of Unleavened Bread and fall Holy Day offerings this [past] year were $100,000 over budget, while general contributions were lower. This is due in part to demographics of the Church; as more people retire, they give offerings but have less titheable income.
The income is steadying out in the $18-19 million range, about equal to estimated expenses this year, as they have steadily risen in the last five years.”
The UCG is failing to gain new, younger members to replace those who are retiring and, if there is no improvement, expenses will have to be cut to match the flattening income. Much then depends on the success of the output from the new TV studio.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Media Director, Peter Eddington, states that, “UCG.org is currently ranked by Alexa as the 13th most popular religious denomination website in the world.

Is Media Director Peter Eddington being lied to, or is he deliberately lying to us? A quick session in Chrome with the Alexa extension installed shows that the UCG site is somewhere around the 22,000th most popular site in the USA. I stopped my searching after finding 20 religious denomination websites with higher Alexa rankings. It does seem likely, though, based on the Alexa numbers, that UCG.org is currently the top ACOG site. COGWA's LifeHopeAndTruth.com site is now reporting substantially higher rankings than the Tomorrowsworld.org or LCG.org sites, but these numbers are very tentative when we consider the tiny audiences and the way uneven installation of the Alexa extension among different ACOG groups' members can skew results.

DennisCDiehl said...

Well, they certainly build as if they have resources a plenty to do so. That's quite a project

Anonymous said...

How much did ratings for Tucker Carlson or Rachel Maddow change the last time they changed their sets?

You guessed it... NOT AT ALL!

Successful programs hesitate to change sets on a whim, because they don't want to tinker with success, but the reverse isn't true. Unsuccessful programs become successful not when they change their sets, but rather when they change their presenters or their message. UCG may be willing to change its message, but the process of choosing its presenters has everything to do with politics and little to do with effectively presenting the message.

Anonymous said...

Eddington's report brags about a 502 responses, a record for the year. To put this in perspective, LCG ten years ago was getting an average of 5,000 responses per week to its program.

TLA said...

UCG income is now about the same as LCG, after starting out much higher.
Does anyone have the COGWA figure?
The biggest proof that the COGs are not the true church, is that they cannot get along with one another.
John 13:35 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Yes - it is pretty obvious, once you stop making excuses to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Perbvert W Dumbstrong's post-Enlightenment-neofundamentalist-apocalyptic-cult was always a very difficult sell showing low yields for massive marketing outlays!

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Anonymous 7:21 AM said, "Perbvert W Dumbstrong's post-Enlightenment-neofundamentalist-apocalyptic-cult was always a very difficult sell showing low yields for massive marketing outlays!"

MY COMMENT - As Dennis Diehl has pointed out, once the internet became widely available, the Worldwide Church of God was over!

The baggage of Herbert Armstrong and his many false predictions as well as the Church scandals over the years have tarnished the Armstrong brand. Gary's Banned by HWA website as well as Gavin's before him as well as other information widely available on the internet raised much public awareness to the bad brand.


One thing I disagree with 7:21 AM anonymous. Herbert Armstrong was many things but one thing he wasn't - he wasn't dumb.

Richard

Anonymous said...


If new people read the old UCG literature, they might learn a little bit about some basic COG teachings. The old UCG literature was very mild, or maybe one could even call it lukewarm, but at least it did not have the additional crazy garbage that false prophets like Flurry and Pack made up for their private cults.

However, if new people actually attend a UCG disservice, they will meet the unrepentant, unconverted, unbelievers and weirdos who like to hang out there and spout off all their own stupid theories. New people might then wonder why they should read and believe anything when nobody else there seems to read or believe anything.

When COGWA split off from UCG in 2010 due to an attempted hostile takeover of everything by filthy Luker, the more conservative types tended to go with COGWA while the apostate Tkach goons tended to stay in UCG. Replacing the missing ministers with newly credentialed UCG “ministers” has always been a disaster. These guys can be utterly godless.

Byker Bob said...

No matter what the relevant measurable statistics happen to be, these groups are going to spin them to make it appear as if there is growth, and as if they are reaching larger numbers of people than they actually are, in other words, that they are somehow fulfilling their stated commission.

Truth is, they all lack anything but statistically negligible visibility.

BB

Anonymous said...

Bob is a genius. He spent his money on curtains instead of a TV studio and he has about the same growth rate, zero!

Questeruk said...

4.32AM said ‘Media Director, Peter Eddington, states that, “UCG.org is currently ranked by Alexa as the 13th most popular religious denomination website in the world.’

”Is Media Director Peter Eddington being lied to, or is he deliberately lying to us? A quick session in Chrome with the Alexa extension installed shows that the UCG site is somewhere around the 22,000th most popular site in the USA.”


Peter Eddington is not claiming UCG to be 13th most popular site!! He is claiming to be the 13th most popular ‘religious denomination’ website.

Just to help you out anonymous 4.32 I have just looked at the Alexa site.

If you check by category/society/religion & Spirtuality/Christianity you get (at the time of posting this) 35,034 sites, of which UCG is 39th. By going on to the next sub-category ‘Denominations’, brigs up 28137 sites, of which UCG is currently shown as 15th.

That category exactly reflects what Peter Eddington is stating, so it seem UCG has dropped a couple of places to 15th in the world since he wrote his piece.

Incidently going down one more sub-category to ‘Churches of God’ brings up 168 sites, of which UCG is in first place, as Anon 4.32 suggests.

I would suggest from the above that Peter Eddington is neither being lied to, or deliberately lying to us! Anyone can check this out for themselves in five minutes on google, free of charge.

Anonymous said...

Richard said...
"One thing I disagree with 7:21 AM anonymous. Herbert Armstrong was many things but one thing he wasn't - he wasn't dumb."

Yes, he was many things, notably unscrupulous, corrupt, evil, and a greedy liar, not to mention a child molester, but one thing he wasn't was dumb.

And he had a gift for selling to mass audiences over the radio and TV, which is gift that no one in any of the splinters has ever had. Even GTA, the man with the "golden voice" couldn't replicate his father's success for himself after being forced to go it alone.

However, he died 33 years ago. That was before the Cold War ended, before the internet, and before social media. I'm not sure that Herbert Armstrong, if he were still alive and trying to sell his Depression/Cold War-era schtick, if even he would be able to connect with 21st century audiences. Young people would have no idea what he was talking about. Maybe he could bring in a few 90-year-olds who also still live in the past. Sure, I bet that he'd have slick corporate website, but so what? UCG has proven that's not enough. And just think about the kinds of things that attract followings on facebook, instagram, or twitter—all of his dire prophecy nonsense content would be both unintelligible and a major buzzkill. The bottom line is, I don't think anyone would respond to his fearmongering bullshit anymore, regardless of how it's packaged.

So the splinters like UCG and COGWA, they're doubly-cursed. Not only do they not know how to sell anything, the thing they're trying to sell is the religious equivalent of the buggy-whip. What they're doing is never going to work. The only thing they're "Beyond" is the sell-by date of their product. And the Good News is, they'll never even try anything else!

No, wait, they're triple-cursed. Because on the rare occasion when they do lure a credulous fool in the door, once they hear the old testament works-based doctrines (especially the iniquitous tithing doctrines) and meet the unfriendly "brethren," who's going to stick around after that?


Anonymous said...

on the rare occasion when they do lure a credulous fool in the door, once they hear the old testament works-based doctrines (especially the iniquitous tithing doctrines) and meet the unfriendly "brethren," who's going to stick around after that?

A significant number of the people attending the larger splinters are there for social/family reasons, not because they believe HWA's doctrines. Many have convinced themselves that it is better or more Christlike to keep the seventh-day Sabbath and to keep a few of the OT laws, and the splinters give them a place to do that. However, even the sincere Sabbath-keepers are often very leery of the old HWA doctrinal package. When new people show up at a splinter, they don't get invited into the decades-old cliques, and they notice quickly the difference between wha the splinter teaches on paper and how the members actually live. Then, when they see the odd way in which the splinters (in HWA's footsteps) keep an inconsistent mishmash of the OT laws, they usually either drift back into Protestantism, find a Messianic Christian church, or in a few cases find an actual Jewish synagogue that is free of the ACOG baggage.

Anonymous said...

Why would any new members be attracted to any of the splinter groups? They are a bunch of people living in the past, asleep in the present.

Just look at how LCG has quietly become influenced by Chinese communist propaganda. It's not just Confucius Institute leader Stuart Wachowicz; now we have proof that Doug Winnail has fallen under that influence. In a couple of his recent magazine articles, Winnail has shown that instead of using the terminology standard among the U.S. and its allies, he uses the sanitized Chinese words to describe in English the "One Belt, One Road" initiative. In Chinese and other languages, the Chinese don't shy away from the word "one" which implies that China, not the U.S., will be the leading nation. Only in English has China tried to perpetuate a misleading translation that omits the reference to "one." So, does Winnail use the literal translation as Americans should, or does he use the deliberately misleading Chinese mis-translation? In his recent articles, Winnail uses the pro-Chinese mis-translation, in order to dupe Americans.

Maybe Winnail isn't an agent of China, but he is at the very least their dupe, probably because of the influence of Wachowicz. And yet, LCG doesn't seem to care. Weston, who worked alongside Wachowicz in Canada, has elevated his influence, not constrained it.

Anonymous said...

Whilst being first place out of 168 Church of God websites is good news for United. It has dramatically become more the retirement church, especially since the 2010 split.
Ralph Levy is credited with the remark of claiming COGWA took 73% of United's youth with them. That is a major problem for United.
The devil is always in the detail, and the detail of United is time not being on their side.

Ronco said...

They need to make Jelly the official emcee for the new studio.

Anonymous said...

Anon1:49PM said...
"Ralph Levy is credited with the remark of claiming COGWA took 73% of United's youth with them. That is a major problem for United. The devil is always in the detail, and the detail of United is time not being on their side."

If that's true, that's gonna bring forward UCG's demise significantly.

In 2010 Vic Kubik was itching to get some more use out of his Tkach™ Hatchet, and at the time didn't care how many other members it would cost him. "Good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the way out!" He didn't care about any of us anyway. The only thing he cared about was the money, and he figured he could replace the lost income with all the new butts he was gonna attract to fill all those empty seats (and more!) once he had free reign to allocate the budget any way he wanted.

But now here we are, nearly 10 years later, and they never managed to attract any of those hordes of new evangelicals they were hoping to pack the pews with, who for some strange reason they figured would be dying hand over larger percentages of their income than they ever had before in their lives. Well, it hasn't worked out that way. All the "broken rungs" on their ladder remain busted. All their god's horsemen and all their god's men, haven't managed to put UCG back together again.

But I do owe them one debt of gratitude. Their shameful and corrupt example greatly accelerated my exit from Armstrongism. They helped me be absolutely sure I wasn't making any mistake by leaving!

It must be obvious to them by now that they seriously miscalculated, and they'll never recover from that mistake. And if they aged their church into the bargain, that makes their miscalculation that much more serious.

Anonymous said...

@12:01pm - Bingo - you are so right!

I sometimes view the FB pages of those who are a part of the COGs/CGI and even those who have 'left' and I can't get over the potpourri of friends from the different splinters.

After isolating themselves from their 'worldly' friends and family members when they joined the RCG/WCG, so many in the WCG became dependent on the WCG members. And sometimes emotionally abandoning their own family members for the WCG.

What they believe has become irrelevant compared to maintaining those friendships. Sometimes I think they believe they have fairy dust sprinkled on them, which insulates them to all the changes.

R.L. said...

I know someone who attended one of the "Beyond Today" studio sessions. Victor Kubik wrote later that the audience section was full. He and his wife were in that audience. But that someone noticed several empty seats as well.

Anonymous said...

Media Director, Peter Eddington, states that, “UCG.org is currently ranked by Alexa as the 13th most popular religious denomination website in the world. Last year, the UCG.org website received over 10 million unique visitors and 99.8 percent were non-members.”

Lies, damned lies...and statistics!đŸ˜‚

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:02 PM said..."They are a bunch of people living in the past, asleep in the present."

And blind to the future!

Then again HWA was guilty of the same what with all of his world analysis and failed predictions.

NO2HWA said...

Anon @ 6:14 wrote: "Lies, damned lies...and statistics!đŸ˜‚"

I will never forget one of the big wigs in the church accounting department (who later when with Meredith) tell us one time that they could take any statistic and make it mean anything they wanted, even if it was something in the negative they could spin it as positive.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous July 12, 2019 at 11:37 AM said: "However, he died 33 years ago."

33 years ago?!

If only HWA had a time traveling machine like in the Netflix show "Dark" so he could've seen the end really is coming...June 27, 2020! lol ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think what is the MOST telling about this particular article is that the main concern of it is whether or not they’ll have to cut expenses if they can’t draw in new people. Not that they’ll maybe turn someone to God, not that they’ll teach more people truth...they just won’t have to take a pay cut. Really really shows exactly what they’re REALLY concerned with