United Church of God Announces Finances & Other Statistics

Yesterday, UCG posted information from its 12/11/07 Council of Elders’ Meeting which included the following:

The income for the first four months of this fiscal year (July 1 to Nov. 2) was almost exactly flat, when compared with the same period last fiscal year.

The income for the five weeks ending this past Friday (Nov. 3 to Dec. 7) is a different picture. For that period, the total income is up by 16.57 percent (and Category One income, which encompasses almost three quarters of the total budget) was up by 17.14 percent. Of course, we all understand that five weeks does not a long-term trend make, but neither does four months.

The effect of this very good recent period has been to increase the total fiscal year-to-date income, through Dec. 7, to a positive 2.45 percent growth rate.

For the last 365 days, ending Dec. 7, the total income is a positive 4.56 percent growth. For the two 365-day periods ending Dec. 7, the total income is a positive 6.98 percent per year growth rate.

Mr. Kilough mentioned that it’s hard to explain the ups and downs of income…

Ambassador Bible Center: We are preparing to begin the ninth year of ABC. We have now accepted 34 students for 2008. We still have a few applications to review, and we are expecting a class of 40 or so this coming year. Classes begin on Jan. 7, 2008…

U.S. Church attendance according to file December 2006: 15,145
U.S. Church attendance according to file Nov. 30, 2007: 15,485
U.S. baptisms 2005 through December: 171
U.S. baptisms 2006 through December: 181
U.S. baptisms 2007 through November: 173

This year’s Feast saw the number attending in the United States drop below last year, but the total for all sites was up slightly. We know from registration that 35 percent more U.S. and Canadian members traveled outside their countries for the Feast this year. This was the largest number for any one year in several years. If the additional U.S. members had remained in the United States (that is, if the same number had transferred in 2007 as in 2006), we would have roughly the same number this year as last year.

Total Feast of Tabernacles (all sites) attendance 2004 = 19,765
Total Feast of Tabernacles (all sites) attendance 2005 = 19,765
Total Feast of Tabernacles (all sites) attendance 2006 = 20,436
Total Feast of Tabernacles (all sites) attendance 2007 = 20,476

Without an aggressive training program, the United Church of God will be unable to fulfill its goal of having pastors for all congregations within the next five years. If we do nothing, within 10 years it is quite possible that the United Church of God will be unrecognizable, having lost as many as 46 pastors to retirement or health problems…

At the beginning of the United Church of God, he said that we had a desire to provide each congregation with a full-time pastor. We didn’t want to have just video groups. In the first few years of United, we had 125 pastors. We now have 90 covering the same territory. We have hired 17 men from the leadership workshops over the past several years…

Most pastors today in the Church have a biblical education that is 30 to 40 years old, and they need updated training. A new pastor today needs training…

Mr. Franks asked, “How do we replace ministers in next three years? Eighteen men will be 70 or above. In 10 years, there will be 46 who will be at retirement age. How and where will we train the ministers? How can we do more? How do we upgrade our ABC program? Where are the ABC graduates? What are we trying to accomplish for seven months with these people who come to ABC? Our goal is to give them knowledge, and that can be done in a number of ways, so why do we bring them here?”

Mr. Franks then pointed out that we are in a very good position to begin these changes. For instance, financial reserves were only $37,000 10 years ago; now, they are $7.2 million. He said that last year our income of $23.5 million was the best ever. He said that even with the subprime loan problems, and other issues such as the periodic drops in the stock market, the income of the Church has not been adversely affected in the last 10 years. “We have no long-term debt.” He said the plans are now to hire three men per year for the next four years. Then we need to hire six men every year for next six years. And that is just to remain even.

He said that the need for training is now. The elders are aging. The pool of AC graduates is drying up. We need an aggressive program for training. We need to change ABC from a commuter school. We will need to replace almost 50 percent of our current pastors in next 10 years—assuming age 70 for retirement. He closed with the point that now is our window of opportunity.

Comments by COGwriter

UCG is the largest COG with origins in the old Worldwide Church of God.  I would like it to clearly announce its total attendance worldwide and not just for the Feast of Tabernacles.  However it may have this time as it seems that an error in reporting occurred.

How so?

Well on December 8, 2006 UCG reported:

  • U.S. church attendance (from monthly church reports) in September 2006 was 11,687—up from 11,235 reported in September 2005.

Since UCG did not have a huge increase in US attendance in the last three months of 2006, then I presume it probably made an error in its 12/11/07 report. 

Related to other matters in the report, while I knew that UCG had an aging ministry, I was unaware that its ABC education program was not successful in training enough ministers for them.

It appears that UCG would like to spend some of its reserves on a new school concept and perhaps that would take place at the new Texas property that it is purchasing (see news item United Church of God Buys Texas Property).

Of course, Living University currently exists and if UCG really wants training and classes like the old Ambassador College, it could enroll its potential ministers there.  The Spring 2008 semester is open for registration (see news item LU Announces Theology Classes for Spring 2008).

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