Saturday, 19 January 2008

The 34 500

Bill Lussenheide draws attention to the current membership statistics of the WCG in a recent posting in the comments section. The full account is contained in the latest issue of Together, and it makes interesting reading.

Membership figures seems to be based on attendance rather than those baptized, and even then the results are incredibly modest. There are, according to Randy Dick, 10,873 faithful folk left in the US. The next highest figure comes the Philippines (6225) then, from north of the border 4476 confused Canuks.

Next on the national hit parade come the Ockers (a.k.a. Australians) with a membership of 1438.

The Democratic Republic of Congo - where presumably limited flow of information, illiteracy and poor access to the Internet work in the church's favor - chalks up 900 followers.

Poor old Britannia manages to scrape a membership of only 871, while New Zealand comes well down the list with 183.

The total membership worldwide is now calculated at 34,500 (though elsewhere on their website they still claim 42,000) - and that appears to mean regular attendees. In short, the WCG is rotting from the inside out. And that despite desperate infusions of neo-Calvinist nonsense in the form of Karl Barth and Presbyterianism's terrible twosome, the brothers Torrance.

Those with get up and go have, well, got up and gone.

That doesn't mean WCG is about to fold: lots of income to be gleaned from the estates of the deceased; certainly enough to keep Joe and Co. in clover for life.

But in case anyone hadn't realized it, WCG is effectively dead on its feet anyway.


Lussenheide said...

Some quick math, with some reasonable assumptions...

1) The average US WCG attendee gives $1000 per year

2) The average NON US attendee gives $200 a year

This totals $10 million coming in from the US , and $6 Million from international.

Under the new model, I believe local churches send in 10 or 20% to the HQ, keeping the rest for their own congregation.

Soooo...Tkach gets about $1.6 to $3.2 Million coming into his coffers STILL each year.

Pretty good business this "franchising of religion", especially since the benefits of the HQ are very dubious at best for the local church.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Stingerski said...

Well Bill,

As I've always asked people, "Wanna start a church?"

Anonymous said...

It looks like Joe Jrs ministry is going to be more video based as pastors retire/move on. GTA was a pioneer on this as far as sending out videos (of him preaching not the x-rated ones).

Lussenheide said...

More Math:

Ok lets do some more assumptions:

1) Revenue from "new model" as stated above equals aproximately $2 Million per year

2) Revenue from $100 Million raised in the WCG Fire sale @ 4% interest = $4 million a year.

3) Lease Expenses for Financial Way Industrial park WCG HQ building @ 7000 square feet at $2 per square foot per month = $168,000 per year.

4) MISC office expenses, (maintenance, phones et al) matching the lease expenses of $168,000 per year.

5) 15 employees with a total benefit and salary package @ $80k per year = $1.2 Million per year.

6) Doing whatever they do for the WCG via travel, media, net, letters et al, = $1 Million per year.

TOTAL EXPENSES = @ $2.5 Million a year

TOTAL INCOME = @ $6 Million per year.


Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Bob said...

Ah, Randy Dick. There's a name that always garnered a few giggles from the girls at A.C. Brickett Wood!

Stingerski said...

Bill said :

More Math:

Ok lets do some more assumptions:

Hello Bill! Wanna start a CHURCH?

What am I financially missing here to ensure my future retirement?

purplehymnal said...

Confused Canucks? More like brainwashed Canucks!

Doubly brainwashed, in that they're still sending money to Junior so he and his buddies can take multiple cruises per year, and let's not forget that (yeah yeah I'm flogging a dead horse) relaxing two-month European vacation he and the ministers of misery have planned for this fall!

All that travel has to eat into the profit margin somewhat, no? /sarcasm

I've said elsewhere, I'm surprised there are so many Canadians with the new-and-not-so-improved Fundie Worldwide. It was my understanding most of the congregations went over to United, right after the changes. This was prior to United splitting itself, though, there's probably been a lot of back-and-forth in the years intervening.

Of course, I knew at least two members of the Victoria (BC) congregation, who were absolutely ecstatic WCG was bedding down with the Fundies; one grew up High Anglican, the other, Episcopalian.

Richard said...

I just looked at the numbers -- and isn't the #2 country for membership the Philippines? (More than 6,000)

Stan said...


All these hypothetical financial calculation somersaults would be unnecessary with one
honest set of financial statements from Pirate Tkach.


Gavin said...

Thanks for the correction Richard. Somehow I hadn't noticed the Philippines figure - probably because it was listed in a category all by itself. I've amended the posting.

Northeast Iowa Mom said...

34,500... I believe that is fewer than the number of survivors in the ragtag fleet led by Battlestar Galactica.

Anonymous said...

According to Wikipedia, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas has over 40,000 attendees PER WEEK in ONE CITY. The Worldwide Church of God can't muster that throughout the whole planet EARTH in a week.

Talk about downsized!

tkach's cruise concierge said...

Be wary of those African numbers. It's a common enterprise there to feign attraction to wealthy western ministries in order to tap these sappy Americans for donations . In order to maximize returns, many Africans are "members" of multiple U.S. churches & cults (Go for it ! Stick it to Tkach !)

tkach's limo chauffeur said...

Wow, 5 members in China and 1 in Pakistan ! That's a total of 6 for 1,500,000,000 people. What a grand failure for Perbert Strongarm's multi-billion-dollar worldwide evangelism !

Byker bob said...

When they finally got around to looking for the truth, the leaders were too high on power, authority, and wealth, and the membership was too brainwashed to recognize truth even if it had been delivered to them in a loving way.

It's all so sad. Armstrongism, the gift that just keeps on giving!


Stan said...


Together is printing two inconsistent, different, contradictory sets of WCG membership figures in the very same issue!

Compare the Together pdf figure cited for the United Kingdom - 871 - with this UK figure here Together
simultaneously HTML cited at 1,467. How can there be such a difference in the same article? It wouldn't be due to a clerical error due to the following.

There are other discrepancies between the two spreadsheets - Belgium 23 or 36; Denmark 20 or 17; Italy 114 or 132; Norway 30 or 28; Portugal 26 or 28; Switzerland 79 or 143;
UK 1,467 or the 871 you quoted, and Europe, 2,535 or 1,980.

Which one of these WCG spreadsheets is most accurate?

Which are we to believe?


Gavin said...

LOL, these turkeys can't seem to get anything right, let alone get their story straight. What to believe, the PDF (34500) or the HTML version (total 43000)? Not a good look!

Stan said...


These WCG membership statements need to be audited!

And I'll offer to donate my accounting time and throw in my auditing services for free!


Tom Mahon said...

I do appreciate that there is very little of substance coming out of WCG, or any of the COGs for that matter. So there isn't much on which the Blog can reflect, especially when it is relying on the COGs to set the agenda.

But when I logged in this morning to find members and lurkers alike discussing or speculating on the mind numbing topics of WCG's membership and financial income, I was greatful for the soundness of mind with which has blessed me.

ned said...

Tom wheezed: "I was greatful for the soundness of mind with which has blessed me."

Greatful obviously means full of greatness. For which one supposes you could be grateful.

But with which WHO has blessed you? Obviously someone with a well developed sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Funny, one of my last WCG ministers in Washington, D.C. in the mid 1970s was Randy Dick. When I was going through my boxes of old PTs, Sabbath service notes, purple Hymnal, church stuff, etc. I found a tape cassette. So, I put it into a player and it was a Randy Dick "fire and brimstone" type sermon about how we all need to re-dedicate ourselves to God and the Work, support Mr. Armstrong and help hold Mr. Armstrong's arms up so to speak. He quoted Mr. Armstrong extensively from a ministerial letter.

It's funny to see his name mentioned on this site many years later. I wonder what Mr. Dick's reaction would be if we played the tape of his 1970s sermon today. Or, should we assume he pimps for any church leader that comes along just as long as he receives a secure paycheck? Has Randy Dick ever had a real job doing real work?


Tom Mahon said...

ned said...

Thanks ned, but I was too numbed to think straight. It should have read "I was grateful for the soundness of mind with which God has blessed me."

BC said...

Scripture says that the love of money is a root of all evil, so it's obvious that the WCG feels a need to get back to its roots.

Charlie said...


Soundness of mind / Sanity:

1.) The quality or condition of being sane; soundness of mind.
2.) Soundness of judgment or reason.

"If something is not reasonable, it is not believeable."

Paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson regarding the literal interpretation of the bible.

BC said...

Tom's "sound mind" is on the same par as producing commercial power from table top cold fusion.

Neotherm said...

I sometimes wonder if our preoccupation with statistics is a by product of Armstrongite indoctrination.

In a Jesus Plus Cult where works become preeminent and displace grace, measurements of performance are a really big deal. I just had a look at the United News on the UCG website and they have a big chart showing the circulation of their magazine in countries around the world. A real monument to Performance "Christianity".

I have looked at magazines published by other churches and I do not see this kind of compulsive quantification.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

Some good points.

But what do their membership numbers really mean anyway? Church is a poor man's country club. Except in the WCG, you become poorer after you join.

Wasn't David punished by God for counting his army?

PC said...

Behold the administration of the newest WCG,
A phenomenon remarkable: That which should never be!
Robber barons, inheritors of the founder's mammon,
Living high on the hog while their widows suffer famine.

We've succeeded, fulfiled for what we lusted,
Playing petty con games without ever getting busted.
We're out of the business of annual vacation planning
By virtue of the doctrines we've been very busy banning.

Upon our leadership we've certainly been bestowing
Unjustified riches which we've been busily blowing;
Just what they provide us we certainly cannot tell
But we can certainly assure you that they're doing very well.

The magazine's a memory, it's really sad to see
The Plain Truth is again to never be
Associated with us again, best guess
Because the whole thing's gotten
To be an incredible mess.

The whole purpose for our existence and our living
Is to insure that all of you will keep on giving,
No other justification for us exists
Except that our self-existence persists.

No one can correct us and we will never bow
We live in ivory towers and eat high off the sow;
We provide you nothing of value that's for sure
Our selfish narcissitic existence forever will endure.

But we must keep up appearances for the sake of the deceived
To seem to be worthwhile for all the wealth we've received
We need to act so good and pure and godly
To cover our behavior objectively perpetrated oddly.

We present ourselves as righteous, acting out a good game
So much so, the simple don't perceive we're really really lame
We must project ourselves as ministers of light
To cover up the fact we are quite a miserable blight.

The membership has significantly diminished
Yet we need to cover up the fact that we are finished;
Just how can we make our membership look bigger?
Figures never lie but liars often figure.

BC said...

In matters analytic,
It's oft best to be a Brief Critic.

PC said...

Blessed and happy is the sham,
Who doth ever walk astray,
Nor with godly men
Stands in righteous sway.

All he does
Prospers swell
But the righteous are not so
They are fodder for the fools
Who in mansions dwell.

'er in scorner's chair he sits,
For he places his delight,
In the tithes he gets,
Sent in day and night.

All he does
Prospers swell,
But the members are not so,
Leaders are the ones dined and wined,
Who in mammon grow.

Revenues just grow and grow,
Rooted on Glendora's City sides,
Which in season yields the fruit,
Green its cash abides.

All he does
Is confused:
Makes no real sense at all,
You just have to now believe,
This Empire's got to fall.

Poet Critic

Bamboo_bends said...

Charlie said...

"If something is not reasonable, it is not believeable."

Paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson regarding the literal interpretation of the bible.

Charlie....have you read the "Jefferson" Bible?

For a 1700's cut and paste job, its a very good little compilation of Jesus teachings, minus the hocus pocus parts.

As to the WCG, the History Channel is running a series on how things fall a part, to quote the trailer " all things built by man are also sown the seeds of its destruction..."

The fate of the WCG was sealed in 1995-96. It wasn't meant to be fixed, as hard as it was for me to accept that fact at the time. It was meant to crumble. Its daughter churches are in no better shape.

The decay is simply a matter of time taking its toll.

BC said...

Without enormous resources to overcome the entropy of the unnatural artificial environment of the WCG, collapse must ensue.

Charlie said...

Bamboo Bends said: "Charlie....have you read the "Jefferson" Bible?"...

"For a 1700's cut and paste job, its a very good little compilation of Jesus teachings, minus the hocus pocus parts."

I have not, I might check it out though.

My point to Tom was that Thomas Jefferson and other great thinkers such as Ben Franklin, Samuel Johnson, etc, lived in a time where there were far fewer mind numbing distractions such as the boob tube and of course, the internet. They spent a good deal of time pondering and observing things. Thomas Jefferson concluded that many of the items that religious fundamentalists take to be literally true, are just allegory.

The bible is a great document but certainly there are areas that are made up to tell a tale and others that are in conflict with reality.

Stingerski said...

Anon. said:

Wasn't David punished by God for counting his army?

Actually, no, David never was punished. The reason being, God ordered him to conduct the census (2 Sam. 24) to begin with. Of course, in another book (1 Chron. 21), it was all Satan's fault. Either way, 70,000 innocent Jews were screwed. But not David.

No wonder Jefferson thought the way he did about the Bible.

Tom Mahon said...

Neotherm said...

>>>I sometimes wonder if our preoccupation with statistics is a by product of Armstrongite indoctrination.<<<

Although I don't agree with the phrase, "Armstrongite indoctrination," I believe your comment is a profound observation, considering that you have repudiated your first love and spend much of your time lamenting you ever heard of WCG.

HWA's background was in sales and marketing, so it is not too difficult to make the connection between his former profession and how it measures success, and how the growth of the church was measured.

Using statistics, in my judgement, to measure the growth or success of preaching the gospel relegates the church to the status of a business, which is primarily concerned with the number of customers and the bottom line. The church's emphasis should have been on the quality of the people coming through its doors, rather than on the level of income and the number of baptisms.

If the emphasis was on quality rather than quantity, sadly, many of you here, who now regard HWA as a charlatan, would never have been baptised or ordained as ministers. But if that had happened, you would have had nothing to accuse HWA of. Still, I am sure, as a matter of disposition, you would have found someone else to blame for your problems.

Tom Mahon said...

Charlie said:

>>>My point to Tom was that Thomas Jefferson and other great thinkers such as Ben Franklin, Samuel Johnson, etc, lived in a time where there were far fewer mind numbing distractions such as the boob tube and of course, the internet.<<<

Your point to me, dredged up from the dark recesses of your satanic mind, was that I have bodies buried in my back yard, and that I abused my children.

Charlie said...

Tom said: "Your point to me, dredged up from the dark recesses of your satanic mind, was that I have bodies buried in my back yard, and that I abused my children."

Tom, Your views of God and religion in general are abusive...passing this along to your children qualifies as abuse. I know you think you do it out of love and I believe you are sincere, just tragically flawed. I hope you are at least open minded enough to listen to your children as they approach or are in their teen years and spend less time preaching and judging them. They have perspectives that are often lost on we adults.

...and I don't have a satanic mind.

Corky said...

Tom Mahon said, "Your point to me, dredged up from the dark recesses of your satanic mind, was that I have bodies buried in my back yard, and that I abused my children."

Hehehehehehehe . . . uh, do you? Because we know for a fact that you verbally abuse.

Anonymous said...

To Tom Mahon,

You are exactly the problem with Armstrongism. How dare you pray for death upon another human being. Is that the example that Jesus Christ set? Of course not! What kind of a christian are you? You're not, you're a jackass! You should pray that you won't end up in the "lake of fire." What a crock.

eugene said...